Sunday, March 30, 2014

More "sax" appeal....

At first I thought he was just holding an extra saxaphone for a fellow band member.

But, then Matt Thomas started playing both of them.


Later, another man joined the "brass section" and both saxes were heard again.

I got a shot of that fleeting moment by the Dirty Bourbon River Show at the Pour House a few night ago.

I've seen them several times before and it's always like going to a musical New Orleans Brass Circus.

There's even a Ringmaster..."Big Charlie" Skinner.

The center of attention - as always - is lead singer, guitar, cornet and keys, Noah Adams.

What a loosely-packed bundle of kinetic energy!

The challenge for my camera that night was to capture the squeezebox at maximum extension.

No easy feat as they romped along at their usual frantic pace.

Drummer "Boots" Schindler was at warp speed most of the night.

An older couple on my left - he in a coat and tie -  FINALLY got up for a brief slow dance. Surely their first time at the PoHo.


Bassman Jimmy Williams would alternate his 4-string instrument and heft up his Sousaphone and rock the sound system. (I looked it up: a Sousaphone is a giant Tuba.)

In a rare moment, everybody seemed to gravitate toward stage right (our left).

I was able to catch the entire troupe fairly close together.

As a photographer, these  are treasured moments.

There was a guest hornman at the far left but I did not get his name.

I retired from a newspaper so don't get hung up on names as much these days.

I'm there for the whiskey-soaked sounds of this New Orleans band.

According to their website's map, they have slowly invaded the Southeast and - basically - the lower right hand quarter of the U.S.

Looks like a gradual takeover, spreading the gospel of their feel-good music.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

The Ringleader doffed his heavy coat with epaulettes.

This 3-ring circus was hot!

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Some more Dim Sum....

If you're searching around for Dim Sum in the Charleston area, there's now a Saturday Brunch on Daniel Island.

At the Dragon Palace from 11:00 - 2:00.

I've had some Sum as an appetizer there but this features 20 (or more) menu items.

I checked it out this past weekend.

Wanted me some more Dim Sum.

It's on my mind because I became a sponsor on a Kickstarter project to help create a local mobile Dim Sum food truck.

Yes, really, a young man named Chad Moore wants to fill a cultural taste void.

He has put his money where his mouth is, has coughed up most and now is seeking the final $15,000 he needs.

I made a modest pledge and receive almost daily updates.

You can be part of this venture - with great, tasty rewards - but you had better hurry...the countdown shows only 04 Days: 01 Hour:53 Minutes.

Chad is on his way back from intensive Dim Sum cooking classes experiences in Hong Kong.

His food truck is expected to start rolling here in June.

This is a well-thought out process and he obviously has great support.

The goal should easily be reached - with room to spare - in the next few days.

Here is the pledge level I chose:
Pledge $80 or more:
Advanced Early Backer - My lifelong gratitude, all Kickstarter backer updates, 25* free entrees, free bumper sticker, and an invite to a special tasting.

Estimated delivery: 
You selected


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Grilled Salmon.....Mmmmm.

Nothing wrong with eating healthy.

Salmon is high in the good stuff, whatcha' call it...Omega 3 oils.

Yes. Those Alpha - Omega things.

Hard to spot this meal on the menu of a BBQ place but, keep looking, it's probably there.

Made a bad choice about ordering a steak once at this Smokey place on Rivers Avenue and vowed to stick to pulled pork and brisket.

But, I was in a mood for something..."fishy." With sides: mashed potatoes and gravy and baked beans.

AND, I did not order the Tower of Chocolate cake/ice cream for dessert.

Came close though.

(Click on the photo for more details.)

Wonder what the sauce was?

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Friday, March 21, 2014

"Lean on me..."

 "Yes, a tripod would be handy right now," said Kelsey Castro.

"No problem, use my shoulder," responded David Blackwell.

Meanwhile, Chris Castro, 12,  went it alone.

Main Street in Summerville on the first day of Spring.

3rd Thursday is a time to wander around. See what's new and what's been there for many years.

A longtime resident is a good guide to have on these memory lane jogs.

Thanks Charles.

Right in front of us - on Short Central - the street that's always closed to traffic - some talented high schoolers gave a sneak preview of an upcoming production of "The Wiz."

The "yellow" part of the real brick road was added by me, using Photoshop.

Don't think officials would have allowed actual paint being brushed on.

But it adds to the effect as Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorthy and the Cowardly Lion shake it on down.

Speaking of a drug store with a history, the Dunning family has operated this beauty on Main Street for more than 50 years.

My dad was a cabinet maker who retro-fitted drug stores and would treasure wall storage units like these.

Some with rich woods, glass shelves and sliding glass doors were trucked home when the owners guiding the remodeling threw them out.

Not the case here.

Proudly showing heritage along with products for sale.

Those nice looking cuterie boards, filled with choice meats and cheeses, are pretty fancy.

Well, when they are first delivered to your table.

Not so much toward the end as appetites have been satisfied.

The offer was made to help ourselves but I think Charles and I arrived on the scene a bit too late.

We wished the two ladies who were visiting the area a nice evening and continued our tour along Main Street.

They were refilling their wine glasses.

Right next door was an elegant wine bar so we went in to see if there were seats at the bar.

Nope, filled up and about 3-deep standing around.

The striking etched glass sculpture hanging on the back bar certainly caught my eye.

Charles knew the artist and talked about some of his other pieces.

I listened while I focused (literally) on the beautifully carved 3-D work of art.

Amazing to think that my small digital camera was capturing this image as simple "0"s and "1"s in computer talk.

This is indeed a wonderful time to be a photographer.

Young camera newcomers don't have the history of shooting on film and home darkrooms to appreciate what led up to this.

 Speaking of history and a-flash-from-the-past, this 1956 Ford T-Bird brought back lots of memories.

A late night fast drive down from Camp Lejeune to Myrtle Beach, with a fellow Marine.

It was the sergeant's brand new "bird" and we had a grand time cruising the strand until the wee hours.

Doubt I would do well on 2-hours sleep these days.

But, when duty called that morning, we were back in time for formation.

Details of that evening are a little sketchy but I never would call a classic car like this an "antique!"

(Click on the photos for more details.)

I used to drive a '59 Triumph TR-3 and my daughter once saw one and remarked about the "old car."

I gently set her straight.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Oh, THAT Vestapolitan....."

Bands with unusual names often use that as a gimmick.

But a band that makes you wonder about its name - AND plays great music - is OK in my book.

Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans play good-time Blues, skiffle, ragtime, country swing and something really swell he calls Roots & Roll.

His travel band features Margey Peters on bass/fiddle and vocals and she earned this triumphant pose.

(Is that just odd lighting or do I see blood trickling down her upraised left arm?)

The traveling band includes Brad on guitar (I notice he strokes mainly with his right thumb!) and John Collinge on clarinet and sax.
Margey playing her fiddle and Andrew Guterman lays down the beat on drums.

Home Team is a rabid Blues supporter and fantastic music venue with great sound.

May I suggest you try the pulled pork (or chicken) plate with two sides. Dessert is a decadent moist brownie or banana pudding.

I went with the smoked beef brisket, smashed potatoes and BBQ beans.

Oh, and some tasty cold beers of course.

Local craft brewery Holy City has produced a fine Bowen's Island Oyster Stout.

Either  enjoy that or their equally fine Pluff Mud Porter.

Porter or Stout - I like both.

But, back to the music performers:
It was good timing for a Tuesday "school night" show, starting at 9:00 pm and going until midnight.

I've been to places (PoHo) where the music doesn't even start until 11:00 pm.

A few times even later. Yikes.

This is a good mix of great music and good food.

I didn't get a chance to ask Brad the origin - and meaning - of his band's name.

He was the only one wearing a vest so that wasn't it.

In an email, he responded to my question.

In great detail. Thanks Brad.

  • Brad Vickers What is a Vestapolitan?
    Well, you see...
    When Brad Vickers was looking for a "V" name for his group, he chose The Vestapolitans. Here's why:

    Back in the 1800s, refined young people were taught, among other skills, "parlor guitar". There was one popular piece called "The Siege of Sebastapol," whose title referred to a town that figured in the Crimean war. This instrumental was what was known as a "character" or stage bravura piece, with sections meant to emulate sound effects like a bugle call, stirring battle sounds, etc. This kind of piece was learned by advanced students for recitals.

    Most importantly, it was played in "open" tuning. This tuning caught fire and circulated among players almost at once, and though the piece itself did not become a standard, there must have been enough performances to get the name into circulation. By the 1920s "Sevastopol", as it was then spelled, tuning became very popular with players from all walks of life, both chord and slide guitarists. As the years went on, the name got bent into all kinds of shapes, Vestopol, Vestapool, Vastopol, Bestapol, etc. In fact, Bo Diddley said that he first learned guitar in "Vastabol" tuning. (Bo favored open E, and would use a capo to vary the key).

    Vestapol refers to the chord voicing—the relationship between the open strings—not necessarily the key. The most commonly played Vestapol tunings are D Major (where the tuning is: D-A-D-F#-A-D) or E Major (where the tuning is E-B-E-G#-B-E. ) Brad uses both of these tunings.
  • Chuck Boyd Yes, I thought it was something like that. LOL

(Click on the photos for more details.)

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Monday, March 17, 2014

In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is over.

 OK, OK, we know this day is over in Dublin, Ireland.

The 4-hour time difference thing.

(I think it's 5 hours if you take away our Daylight Savings Time factor.)

So St. Patrick's Day has come and gone.


Well, it would have been appropriate to re-visit the worlds tallest Leprechaun.

Ah, me lad, but he is out there on the streets, waving at tourists, all year long.

Collecting coins in his good-sized wee hat.

And that's grand.

But The Emerald Isle is much more than that stale stereotype.

On the campus at Trinity College (University of Dublin), I went into the Old Library and The Book of Kells Exhibition.

"The Book" is a 9th Century Gospel Manuscripts, beautifully illustrated.

Actually, it has been divided into the Four Gospels so tourists can crowd close as two are usually on display in the upstairs, darkened room.

Large signs say "No Photography" but I eased out my small camera to get a dim natural light shot of an enlarged page illustration.

Unfortunately, in the dark, I did not properly turn off my flash and was bright!

I quickly jammed it back in my pocket and joined all the others, looking around to see who had been so rude!

Later I realized the face looked very familiar and finally it dawned that I was looking at Jay Leno dressed in a funny outfit. Reading from a cue card.

For a short while, on Daniel Island, we had the only Irish pub around offering the traditional Irish Boxty.

The thin pancakes are rolled up and stuffed with meat, sweets or veggies. I had it a few times at the Dublin Down before it closed.

Not to be confused with the traditional Irish Breakfast, served around the clock.

The white and black pudding slices caught my eye.

This was enjoyed while on a train taking me south and inland  down to Cork.

There I boarded a sightseeing tour bus with an excellent tour guide.

I flash back to many of these memories every March 17.

The other "food" served day and night was a refreshing pint of Guinness.

Or two.

Actually, you could have a Guinness with breakfast ..served around 5:00 in the afternoon.

I know this for a fact.

This year the St. Paddy's celebration here in Charleston was dampened by rain.

A steady downpour.

But I'm almost positive the Irish invented umbrellas just in case that happened.

I saw that parades still were held and I'm sure some places served beer tinted green.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

I understand the celebration lasted four days in Savannah.

Hope boxties were available.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

ISO doesn't always mean In Search Of....

There are really only three basic things that go into making a photograph.

1. Shutter speed.
2.  Lens opening.
3.  Sensitivity of the film.

Back in the "old days" when I started in photography - using film - that sensitivity factor was called ASA. Today, with digital, it's called ISO.

A film like Kodachrome 25 was less sensitive than say, Ektachrome 125.

Tri-X 400, a black & white mainstay during my newspaper days, was fast and could be "pushed" while developing up to about ASA 800.

That saved many a shot even though it was more rough and gritty than with a slower speed film. That was called "grain." Today, with digital, it's called "noise."

These photos of The Royal Tinfoil were taken at the Pour House a few night ago under impossible lighting conditions.

Well, not completely out of the question because I found a way to boost my digital camera's ISO from 800 to 6400. Yikes, quite a leap!

The results were very grainy/noisy until I smoothed things out a bit with a darkroom tool called Topaz DeNoise plug-in.

Shooting at other venues, I have taken very nice crisp shots of Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney with my camera set on ISO of 400. The difference is the amount and intensity of the stage lighting.

A bright white spotlight on the performer lets me snap away at 1/200th of a second which is sharp with very little blur. Last night, even at 1600 ISO, my shutter would have been a slow 1/25th of a second which does NOT stop action very well.

These shots would do OK printed on pulpy newspaper stock but are marginal online or in my blog.

I just feel good I got usable images and will continue to experiment.

(Click on the photos for some details.)

After I saw I had a few good action shots, I put away the camera and had another beer.

More experimenting.

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

"...from a little acorn....."

My neighbor had a problem with a large oak tree in his yard.

Its roots were lifting the back of his cinder block garage.

In a major bad way.

I told him about a trimmer who had  brought a trained team to my yard four years ago and he got in touch with Sonny Nguyen, the owner.

They discussed the situation and the decision was made to remove the tree.

One limb at a time. Cut it down to size.

One man in a safety harness up in the tree and quite a few others on the ground, pulling ropes to make things fall - and land softly - where they wanted them to.

When I had had my trees cut back to avoid them rubbing against my roof, it was a major trimming action. This procedure was a total removal.

Multiple chainsaws were roaring as limbs were cut down to size.

Man-in-the-tree was agile and purposeful as he selected which branch to safely hang from as he slimmed down the tree.

Other men, meanwhile, were on the roof of the house, using small chainsaws attached to 9 foot poles.

They were making sure there was clearance all around the house from trees that had grown too close.

I remember that scene from my earlier project with A-Z Tree Service.

Men on the ground clipped branches before dragging them over to the large chipper parked in the driveway.

Other hefted large sections of the tree and placed them in a large truck.

Smaller diameter logs were stacked by the house in a growing wood pile for the fireplace.

As the cut sections became larger, several men were using massive dollies to move them to the truck to be hauled away.

Meanwhile, the trimming and leveling of the intrusive tree continued.

The tree was diminishing.

Shorter and shorter.

Soon a choice would have to be made on where to place the ropes and safety harness.

Neighbors stood around, watching the action.

I noticed none of the men seemed to be wearing ear protectors against the noisy saw clamor.

Vocal commands were being shouted to bring down the massive limbs with accuracy.

Maybe that precluded covering your ears.

As noted earlier, they functioned as a well-trained professional team.

I wear earplugs at music concerts so I know sound is diminished. Especially, the very high pitch... like that  made by a screaming chainsaw.

And, by more than one.

Finally, things began to quiet down.

Fewer saws operating.

The man-in-the-tree was now down on the ground.

Large pieces were strewn about as men cut them down to fit in the truck.

My neighbor was discussing how to best "treat" the stump to make it disappear.

"Drill holes and pour in salt," was suggested. Burning the stump was not an option since it extended under and into the garage itself.

That was the original concern.  (Click on the photos for more details.)

Bye, bye former mighty oak.

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Thursday, March 06, 2014

"..and a roof over"

My car is getting older.

Seven years ago it was pushed off the showroom floor and I drove it home.

Since then, Saturn stopped making the 2-door Ion model.

(It has two more doors - hidden - with no door handles.)

Surprises people when I open up the entire side of the car (no post between doors) and shove large boxes inside.

Clever design and one reason I bought it.

Then a few years later, Saturn went out of business.

Gone. Pffft. Dealership closed.

When I wanted service, I was told to take it back to where I bought it but now it was a Chevrolet/GM dealer.

I'm sure they trained those guys well to ALSO work on a Saturn if one showed up.

So, my car and I get along fine. It has not needed much attention and I can park it away from bird droppings and tree sap.

But, pulling up under the deck is awkward. Usually only do that if a serious storm is predicted.

Must be a better way to use that cement slab/patio for a long-gone mobile home.

I took down the bird feeder because of what they were doing ON my car.


Then I looked into a steel car port. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted.

The City of Hanahan said I would need a permit and paperwork on how it would be anchored so it would not blow away into a neighbor's yard and cause damage.

I assume they are protecting me from other people's flying sheds and car ports.

Found what I wanted on Rivers Avenue at Leonard Aluminum Utility Buildings, Inc.

Naturally I took a picture of one they had assembled out back.

12 feet wide, 21 feet long and the poles are 5 feet high. Should do it.

You can get the idea even though, when I combined the two pictures, I showed I don't do well matching perspectives. Or relative size.

The slab is 8 feet wide by 20 feet.

Hanahan City Planners will be glad to know it will be held in place with four long Mobile home anchors that screw deep into the ground.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

My free-hand sketch shows it more accurately than my photos.

Proper perspective is better when I draw things.

Guess I'm an artist.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A New Point of View......

 Stopped by The Charleston Harbor Fish House restaurant the other night.
Looks like it's going to make it.

Good crowd, good food and a great new view of the ships on display.

The different viewing angle puts the USS Laffey in the foreground, in front of the Yorktown.

That's important to remember at twilight because there are TWO masts sticking up in the air.

Not something you would normally see on an aircraft carrier.

Looking across the marsh on a slightly foggy evening is a delight.

Trying to have your dinner in focus too is a challenge.

The cedar plank salmon was delicious, along with seasoned mashed potatoes and sliced grilled veggies.

Well, and a beer as well.

Our hostess said the restaurant opened almost a year ago and, despite a light rain, I went up a flight of stairs to check out the closed  deck and patio.

Must be a good place to gather after a Party At The Point Friday afternoon/evening.

I have attended those Friday events as well as Blues artists performances out behind the Marina Hotel.

Always wondered if they would ever open a restaurant.

The attention to detail is obvious and the well-appointed rooms are open and airy as a harbor view place should be.

When I am in a seafood restaurant here in the Lowcountry, I always look over the menu to see what other options are offered. "Hey, how's the spaghetti?"
I usually come back to meals from the sea.

Years ago I lived in Kansas City, Missouri and a treat was to go to a noted downtown seafood place.

It proudly proclaimed its lobsters were flown in fresh daily.

I assume from Maine.

The Kansas City strip steaks were fine too.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

When visitors ask what I would reccomend they try, I often suggest Shrimp & Grits.

Charleston comfort food.


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