Saturday, July 03, 2021

BRACING MYSELF!

 So, recently I had a reason to wear dress suit pants for several days in a row and thought "How can I make myself more comfortable?"


Like many others, I have what is unofficially called COVID-12/15 which refers to the weight one gained while doing many, many months of personal home lockdown, and ...I had put on at least 12 pounds.

I was required to wear "sorta tight around the waist" dressy pants for many days in a row for some Extra/BG actor work I was doing for a tv series filming here. The full suit was not required so the coat - that also shrunk in the closet - was not a factor. Thank goodness.

I tried using a new, larger belt but, as the day wore on during filming standing On Set, my pants would droop below my "slightly" expanded belly and I was having to reposition them back up so the cuffs did not drag. Not a constant battle but a recurring adjustment that was a distraction and a concern to me as we worked before the cameras. Doubt anybody else even noticed but I tried to think of a correction.

"Oh yeah, I recalled!" I had worn suspenders 15 years ago when I worked at the Post and Courier. 

But, rummaging around for those problem-solving alternatives, I could not find them. Bummer. 

Hmm, off to a store to find them and buy me some. Not surprisingly the young Wal-Mart staffers were confused about what I was seeking, and eventually, a supervisor used a walkie-talkie to find they did not carry them.

Needing more likely options, I headed to Tanger Outlets with its 50 or so stores. The young staff at Old Navy had no idea what I wanted so I stopped for a coupon booklet at the office and asked the young lady there where I might find suspenders? 

She was baffled until I explained my need to keep my pants up without wearing a belt, and she wisely suggested I try the Brooks Brothers outlet store. 

It was not right next door but I found it, entered and an older salesman met me and asked how he could help me? He smiled when I said I need some suspenders,   "Suspenders or braces?"

Oh, I recalled hearing them called that before, probably in a British movie, but asked "what's the difference?"

He said "braces attach to buttons sewn inside the waistband of your trousers.  Suspenders have strong metal clips to fasten where needed." Of course, that made sense. 

"But, he continued, unfortunately, we have neither."

Stymied, I headed home, went online to My Amazon.com and I chose the Braces because my suit pants HAD the necessary waistband buttons. They arrived the next day.

End of the sagging problem ON SET!

Monday, June 07, 2021

A Cut Above The Rest..




 My yard does not care that I no longer use a ladder! It just keeps doing what it does and I am tempted to power up my electric hedge trimmer and whack away.

Wiser heads prevailed and a good buddy came by to use his super-powerful Weed Wacker all around the house. Unsightly weeds GONE!

And, the next day, he climbed the ladder that wisely is forbidden to me - as an old-timer - and lopped off all the growth that a full year had added to my shrubs, azaleas, and other flowering bushes.

Round azalea bushes were cut down in size and now are square again!

The street-side hedge is manageable finally and many bags of clippings will be raked up, bagged, and hauled away by the city!

Bagging I can do..no ladder involved. Thanks to my buddy Chris!

He worked for hours and knew how to safely use high-powered equipment.

His Weed-Wacker is gas-powered (no extension cords!) and cuts through everything in its path. 

Well, part of one plant got caught in his backswing but..so what? It'll grow back!

You know how this works, click on the photos to see a larger image. Thanks for stopping by...wanna do some raking?



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Friday, May 28, 2021

Speaking of baseball......


As Covid wanes, we are about to be able to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" again here in Charleston at The Joe and I recall a delightful Mother's Day photo I took a few years ago of my Mom (on the right) and the mother of Charlie, the Riverdogs mascot's Mom (on the left.) They made a delightful pair of Moms.  

At another ballgame at Riley Park, I was with my younger daughter Heather here for a brief visit and the announcer asked for volunteers to come to a site by the dugout if they wanted to be part of the zany happenings between innings.  

My Heather jumped up and said she wanted to do some zany stuff! She headed down to sign up and, looking back at me, she gave a thumbs-up signal that she had been chosen!

I had no idea what she would be doing but I did race up to the souvenir stand and bought an inexpensive disposable camera.   Me, the family photographer, had come to the park without my camera or even my Smartphone! Yikes. 

We got seated together again and she was very excited but did not know what she was going to be asked to do?? Then she got nervous, being in front of several thousand people!  I laughed and said NOBODY here knows you...go for it!  

She got a signal from the folks in the dugout and nervously joined them,  ducking out of sight.   I now had a "camera" so I stepped down to peek into the place where the Visitor's team hung out. 

Most were out on the field so she and another young lady were in the process of donning costumes!image.png  My red-haired daughter now was one of two "rotund" SUMO wrestlers!"  

When they went out on the field for the brief between-innings match, the crowd roared and I saw that the ballpark staffers had added big black plastic wigs that hid their faces..but I was pretty sure my daughter Heather was wearing the bright yellow sash!

 (I saw a cartoon a while back of a guy tossing his disposable camera into a trash bin saying "Not really sure how this gets the film developed.")   

This is part of the fun I have had doing a Blog for 14 years, being able to re-live a time that I fondly remembered.

Sure glad I thought about a cheap disposable camera in time to capture this SUMO sequence!

It's more time-consuming now to create a posting but worth the effort!

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Something's Brewing here....

 


Chuck Boyd: Something's Brewing here ...



























I admit it was on my second visit to Ghost Monkey Brewery in Mount Pleasant that I caught the joke.

Looking over the changing menu of freshly-brewed beers -- trying to remember the name of the one which I had liked so much on my first visit -- I spotted the bold sign about WATER.

Many restaurants with soft drink dispensers usually have one tap for water when you don't care for a sugary, fizzy soda.

Just didn't register until my buddy pointed at the sign and said, "That's funny."

Huh? What's laughable about knowing where to find the water?

Well, in a place that concocts its own types and tastes of craft beers, it produces a chuckle when you see what these brewers think a certain other national beer tastes like.

Actually, when I told the owner I liked his visual joke, he explained he didn't have a Bud Lite pull to sit on top of the tap.

I agreed that anything with "LITE" in its name is hardly a craft brew.

At the second stop along a recent Brewery Crawl -- centering on East Cooper -- I pulled up a stool at Two Blokes Brewery and tried to quickly slurp a Spilt Milk.

Didn't follow the physics exactly, but, similar to an Irish Car Bomb, when you combine two different elements together in a rush, there is an explosive effect.

Here you start with a tasty Milk Stout and a separate 4-ounce glass of coffee.

I was advised to sip some stout to make room to add the coffee for an interesting mixture and taste.

I also was warned there would be an overflowing surprise reaction if I added the coffee too quickly.

(The bartender stood nearby with a handful of paper napkins and a fluffy bar towel.)

He saw the look in my eye and knew there would be some soppin' up to 
be done.

The final stop on this Crawl was nearby at Westbrook Brewing Co.

I had taken its excellent brewery tour a while back and remembered it as one of the largest in the area.

Several restaurants offered the Westbrook Mexican Cake, its first anniversary series, that contains aged cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers.

It is a chili beer, but it is not available year-round.

 Evil Twin Brewing liked its contents enough that it collaborated with Westbrook to produce the Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break.

Evil Twin is a gypsy, meaning its beers are brewed at/by another brewery. In this case, Westbrook.

As it was being poured the bartender made sure I knew it was the Biscotti version.

Tasted great!

Westbrook does not sell food so a few nights later I went to Zia Taqueria on Maybank Highway in West Ashley and ordered three enchiladas with chicken, pork and steak.

I probably should have ordered the Mexican rice as a side dish or the black beans to add some variety.

The "Christmas colors" of red and green sauces, drizzled with sour cream, were the reverse of what I expected: the green was hot and the red was milder.

Oh, and no Mexican Cake or Biscotti here so I drank a Dos Equis Amber. Sorry, Westbrook.

Thanks for tagging along on this three brewery area "crawl."

Just heard a new one has opened so I will explore another area where several breweries are clustered.

I believe the number of breweries here in Charleston has quickly grown from a "Baker's Dozen," to Two Dozen!

Look out Asheville!



Chuck Boyd is a retired newspaperman, having served in executive positions for the hospitality and tourism industries in Southern California, Missouri and Florida. He returned to Charleston to serve as InfoLine Director for The Post and Courier.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Was distracted for a while....


 The BLOGGER.COM people made some changes a few months ago. It affected my ability to easily jot down my thoughts, add a few photos and post it in my collection.

A friend came over and showed me a "workaround" so I posted several things but it wasn't my usual, visual, free-wheeling use of photos that is a key part of my blog name: Chuck + Photography. 

Oh, I also had started writing a weekly column for a new local publication started by Charlie Williams, a former editor of our paper The Post and Courier. 

Charlie launched it as the Mt. Pleasant Journal then later expanded its coverage and now calls it THE COAST, reporting items of events from Myrtle Beach all the way down to Beaufort. It is online each week on Friday.

So, because my Blog was in Limbo, I have been writing the weekly column but was faced with the same problem of not being able to use many photographs. Sigh.

The 2-or 3 photos Charlie is able to add to my column have to be stacked at the top instead of interspersed throughout the story as I used to be able to do in my blog postings.

And, sometimes, the particular photo I really liked was not used, so I have learned to send ONLY the three I would like to see in my column,

A case in point was a piece I wrote about store shelves being emptied early in the Pandemic. I had sent along several actual scenes of some shelves being picked clean but he did NOT use my favorite photo I took when my local Bi-Lo closed in March 2016 and ALL the shelves were bare!

I had stopped in the day before they actually locked the doors and saw that ALL was bare..Produce, frozen, meat, bread, etc. Really a haunting view.

So, today I am clicking on the photo I had wanted him to use. Feels good to see it in context!

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

I Am Smiling Again

I am smiling again after receiving my second COVID Pfizer vaccine shot ... somewhat antsy and a wee bit adventuresome.

Accepted an invitation from two friends to go where I had not been in more than a year -- inside a movie theater and then step into a bar to have a drink afterward!


Still wearing a mask (to protect others) I joined the couple to see the new movie Tom & Jerry at the Terrace Theater, a place I used to go to a LOT pre-Covid. I had kept track of various ways that 6-screen cinema managed to stay in business in the midst of a pandemic that was warning people to stay home and endure a personal lock-down ... for a year!


I saw the Terrace actually did shut down for several months then came back using their parking lot for an ersatz drive-in theater! 


Inside, it opened and blocked off most of the seats in each of the various-sized screening rooms to comply with social distancing and even started to offer to reserve an entire screening room for private parties -- limited to 10 people -- at a reasonable cost of about $15 per person!


I hoped the theater would continue to offer a film-viewing experience and would weather this most unusual time when many of us were huddled at home, doing our part to stem the rising tide of infections.


My friends assured me that at times they were seated alone in a screening room. They felt quite safe while the theater struggled to stay open even as the studios limited the release of new blockbuster films until larger audiences could be feasible. 


I was affected personally when local TV production of HBO's The Righteous Gemstones shut down and went on hiatus after aborting Season 2, Episode 1 last year and I was not being contacted to be on set as a frequent Extra/Background actor. This just changed and casting has started again for mid-March filming here. Yay!


So, this Sunday evening, I joined my friends in Theater 3 at the Terrace and a total of five people were separated around 56 seats.


I even lowered my mask to eat some popcorn! The movie featured live-action and animated inserts to tell a delightful wedding story that included live actors and the cartoon duo in a release on HBO Max and in select theaters through March. 

https://tinyurl.com/y7no6ctf


A special feature of the Terrace is the array of classic movie posters that adorn the walls and I noticed that something had changed ... talented artistic staff members had taken the time to add COVID masks on the glass covering to faces on many of the posters! What a clever and amusing addition for even more fun to a night at the theater!


After enjoying our almost private screening, we went next door to The Paddock, my first time inside a bar in 12 months! The bar stools were a little too filled for my comfort so we sat in a heated area with access to the bar near the tented and heated entry, seated apart from others.

A fan of Jameson Irish whiskey, I moved up to the next level with a glass of RedBreast, served neat of course.

A nice evening out! Safe and sane with a bit of preplanning and the cooperation of the Charleston Hospitality industry. I hope to do this more often now, going forward ... it was a real shot in the arm.



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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Classic 4x5 Speed Graphic





A good friend gave me an exceptional gift, a slick coffee table -size copy of "MOMENTS - The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographs," by Hal Buell.

WOW..what a picture-rich treasure trove to give to a photographer!

Not only visually exciting, but it is also filled with background on how the winning photos were taken and with the type of camera. 

The camera I carried for my high school Annual in the fifties, the one issued to me as a USMC photographer and even when I started as a staff photographer at the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper in the sixties, was a 4x5 Speed Graphic!

That camera was introduced in 1912 and so pervasive was the camera among newspaper photographers of the 1930s and 1940s - even into the 1950s - that simply carrying one was, in and of itself, a Press Pass!

Early Pulitzer Prize-winning photos between 1942 and 1954 - and several after that - were made with the sturdy workhorse press camera, the Speed Graphic.

To "snap" a picture (they hated that word), meant changing the 2-sided film holder, remove the slide covering the film, replace the flashbulb, cock the shutter, sight the picture, focus the camera, set the proper lens aperture, and, at the right moment, press the shutter release button. 

If you mistimed it, it took about 6 to 8 seconds to repeat the process and try again., hence the common call-out "One more, please!"

In Korea, in the 1950s, American photographers started using smaller  21/4 x 21/4 format twin-lens cameras like Rolleiflex and Rolleicord that took 12-exposure film rolls instead of the single sheet film holder on the classic Graphic.

By the mid-sixties, most news photographers were using 35mm cameras. 

At the paper in San Diego, we first begrudgingly set aside our Speed Graphics and started carrying a twin-lens roll film Mamiyaflex for a few years then went even smaller camera crazy, switching to 35mm Nikon cameras and lenses.

A year ago I found a bargain and bought me a classic reminder of my earlier photography years and now have a well-preserved Speed Graphic sitting on my shelf at home!






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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

I Ran Outta Bridges...


Once the 2-lane 1929 bridge was closed and the 1960s newer 3-lane bridge was deemed out-moded, construction began on the newest 8-lane bridge to replace both of the oldies. 

 I was still running/walking the 3-lane bridge and we would pass the new one under construction that finally opened in 2005. That was my last annual run/walk over the Cooper River. I decided I would do my next bridge crossing when there was an even newer one! Haha. 

 A while later, the dismantling of the two older, unused bridges began. We have a VERY active port so ships come and go at all hours so that boat traffic had to be considered as the demolition and removal began in earnest. Two huge red cranes arrived on the scene to handle the heavy loads as large pieces were removed and barged away. 

It so happened one of the crane operators was the husband of the caregiver for my Mom as we tried to keep my mother at home as long as we could. Jenny was a sweet, caring lady who came 3-4 days a week and others filled in the rest of the week so Mom was assisted and stayed in her home for many months with great care. 

 One day Jenny asked me if I would like to have a piece of the 1929 bridge as she knew our family history with it and she had seen the photo of my grandmother actually ON the bridge while it was being built a year before it opened. I expected maybe a few rivets from the steel bridge I had driven over as a teenage driver. 

I am sure her husband, the crane operator, was a major part of how I received a LARGE and heavy piece of history! AND 2 rivets and 2 covers. WOW! 

 Later I saw for sale ads for pieces of the bridge and one similar to mine was priced at $1500. Yikes!

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Sunday, November 01, 2020

Coulda been a millionaire!



 

My 14-year old blog has avoided getting into national politics but I did just write about a nice benefit of all the clamor, drama, and repetition in the incessant deluge of one-sided, mainly negative ads slamming another candidate. Not policy, just slurs.

You may not even have noticed the blessed absence/relief from the excessive trial lawyers' ads, bragging about how they expertly obtained gigantic Jackpot Judgments for their accident victim-clients!

Happy faces in the ads exclaiming "I got $100,000 - $300K - or even more than a million!" WOW!

The small print in these ads proclaims "past settlements do not guarantee similar great future awards" or something to that effect. And, rightly so, it should be noted.

A few years ago my elderly mom, walking with a cane, was hit by a car backing out of a store's parking space and she was knocked to the ground. 

An alert employee ran over, banging on the driver's window yelling for him to stop. "Why? said the startled driver. 

He stopped, aid was given to my mom as she lay stunned on the hot asphalt and an ambulance took us to the hospital. She recovered and we met with an attorney who was recommended to me. Don't think he ever had any tv ads.

He got the store's security camera footage that recorded the whole sequence, showed it to the insurance agent for the driver and the agent quickly agreed to pay $100,000, the maximum liability coverage his client had. 

This was a nice bright spot for my mom as she recovered. It sorta helped ease the pain she had felt.

Handing mom a check (minus his 18% fee that we had negotiated), our attorney mused that it was "too bad the driver's coverage was not higher..we could easily have gotten a million dollars."

I remember that every time I see lawyers bragging about the huge settlements they "fought hard to get" for their clients. Too bad my mom was injured by a low-ball liability coverage driver.

And, hey, do you know what else has no room for viewing on tv -well, until Election Day? The wild array of wonder drugs that you and I are told we must inform our doctor about and request he prescribe! 

The litany of side-effects that are also in the ad is horrible and frightening. Yikes.

During this ongoing pandemic, I continue hunkering down at home watching more Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, and other such entertainment...without all the mind-numbing ads! It helps keep me sane.

Please stay healthy and smart. 

Oh, and be sure to wear the damned mask!

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Hard to express THANK YOU...

 As you may recall, a few weeks ago was National Newspaper Carrier Day. YAY.. My brothers and I had done that when we were growing up.

I found out a day or two later, so I took the full-page ad that announced the salute to carriers and attached an envelope with two $5 bills tucked inside.

I hung it on my front yard gate that evening so my unknown carrier would see it when opening the gate to lob my paper up on the porch sometime before dawn.

The next day, my paper was on the porch but the envelope - unopened - still hung where I had put it.

For several mornings, it remained where I had replaced it the evening before....removing it each morning so the mailman would not think the "Carrier" in mind was him (or her) in the afternoon.

Didn't want it hanging there in the morning either when schoolkids trooped past.

Hmm, I tried pinning it to the front of the banister at the foot of the stairs. Nope.

I laid it on the ground at night inside the open gate and various other obvious sightlines. 

Still no taker!

Weeks later, frustrated, I called the paper and explained my futile attempts to reward my carrier with my appreciation for good service.

Good response reaction there and Circulation said it would alert the carrier there was a goodie being proferred.

Finally, I got tired of remembering to hang or place the now faded newspaper page and the soggy envelope out as a gracious pre-dawn present.



Some people just can't accept praise.