Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Flowerful Holidays...

 Of course there is an explanation for this flower-bedecked lead guitarist of the New Orleans street band Yes Ma'am.

The other 5 band members did not make it to the gig Saturday night at Tin Roof.

He gallantly sat in with the opener and gave us quite a show.

Two fans stepped forward with - I guess - a thank you bouquet of flowers.

There were no vases so the long stems were stuffed into his t-shirt and his guitar.

I had seen this band before and looked forward again to hearing a bit of rompin' & stompin' NOLA Royal Street music the day after Christmas.

Hey, as they say, the show went on and dancers danced and ribald stories were shared.

The spirit of the Xmas holiday season and the birth of Jesus, was kneeling to the right of the stage.

This, of course, was the non-retiring other "Joe" in Charleston as the end of the year looms.

The jaunty Santa hat was another nice holiday seasonal touch.

It's no secret that I enjoy live music here and overseas.

It's also well-known that I usually have my trusty Canon SX280hs in my hand on musical evenings.

A nice "shout out" to the Tin Roof for the improved lighting onstage.

Speaking of being out of the country, a buddy of mine has served in Germany and Western Europe for many years as a civilian contractor.

Now he's wearing government credentials in Kabul, near the NATO headquarters, in Afghanistan.

He was able to pose on Christmas day with a svelte  Santa, a wheelbarrow filled with candy, a helpful "tree" and a flirty elf.

They continued on their rounds after the picture was snapped.

Set my camera on black & white to capture Steve Cheesborough and his vintage metal Dobro guitar.

He was at How Art Thou by the Terrace Theater on Maybank Highway Tuesday night.

Steve travels from his home in Portland, Oregon each year around Christmas and this was his final night before heading home.

I've seen him perform several years ago at Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ in West Ashley and know he specializes in music from the 20s and 30s leading up to WWII.

Last week I had just missed his set at the Tradesman Brewing Company close by off Folly Road.

Glad to catch his last night in town as he played with Shrimp City Slim on keys and Juke Joint Johnny on harp.

I learned there is a good chance Shrimp will be adding a second night of Blues (Friday?) at the cozy music, beer , tapas and coffee spot.

(Click on the photos and links for more details and information.)

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy New Year's Eve Eve.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Nailed it....."

While in Massachusetts, I had probably the freshest lobster ever in my life.

Actually, right at the very tip of Cape Cod in P-Town. (Provincetown.)

Got a lobster roll for an early lunch when I stepped off the ferryboat from Boston.

Had another meal-on-a-roll just before re-boarding the ferry that evening.

Pricey, even there in the Lobster hotbed. Well, Maine may raise an eyebrow at that claim. I'll let the New England states defend their claims.

Avoided a long trip up north the other night when I ordered a Lobster roll from Chris York in West Ashley.

He's the owner of The Immortal Lobster food truck that was parked just outside the Tradesman Brewery on a recent rather brisk Saturday night.

The choices were the "traditional" Maine version which is buttered lobster on a toasted roll. Connecticut-style includes mayonnaise. Or, maybe it's the other way around.

First time inside at the Tradesman Brewing Company, just off Folly Road, near Maybank Hwy. at 1639 Tatum Street.

The name comes from the array of hammers, wrenches, capped pipes and thick wrapped cables that are used as draft pulls in the two bars.

I grew up with a Dad who was a carpenter so there were many tools very familiar to me.

Foolishly, I tried to lift a 3-foot long Monkey Wrench sitting in a corner. Heavy ornament.

There are two tasting rooms (bars), one upstairs and the other on the first floor. I did not find the "brewing area" with its large vats on this visit.

The over-size wrench was in a corner downstairs. It still is.

Didn't get the name of the bartender pouring beers, standing behind an authentic wooden toolbox.

My Dad had several toolboxes in his workshop that looked like this one.

He also had a much larger one that he hefted onto his shoulder when he worked out on the piers at the former Charleston Navy Yard during the war.

 My Dad's tool box included two sharp hand saws and several wood planes.

Also assorted chisels, ball peen and claw hammers and wrenches.

But I was here to taste some brews and I started with a flight (four 4-ounce samples) upstairs and then down stairs, to choose four samples from a longer list.

The one being discussed a lot that night was a beer called Chicken & Waffles.

Yes, a beer flavored with chicken bouillon and a hint of maple syrup. I was leery and had just a 4-ounce sample. Others ordered a full pint. Hmmm.

There were other beers I really liked. 

Check out the updated list of "Well Built Beers" on the link to Tradesman.

Many are named after tools but I also tried a 4- oz taste of Orange You Glad and some other whimsical titles.

The upstairs bar is very basic. 

A thin - but sturdy- solid steel sheet curves around the bar area.

My Dad, the carpenter, would have noted there is not any "nosing" on the edge.

That's the raised portion that keeps your cuffs away from spilled beer.

(Click on the images and links for more details.) 

Another night on the job at the Tradesman.

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wow. A Real Blast From The Past!

 Many, many years ago I was named Director of Tourism for the state of Missouri.

Had to move my family from the Kansas City area to a sweet house I bought in the capitol - Jefferson City.

One year, when my daughter was 8 or 9, I decided to build her a DOLLHOUSE.

Not just ANY one, a cute replica of our 2-story home.

It was just a mile or two from my office downtown and had some great lines to it.

 I figured it couldn't be too hard to build...just copy the one standing there.

In fact, even easier, I didn't have to build all of it.

A dollhouse is open at the back. No 4th wall.

Well, it WAS a 2-story so I had to do the second floor inside too.

My daughter was really into each step-by-step as it started taking shape.

I had not told her it was going to look just like our real house but she quickly caught on as it progressed.
 I liked the way certain parts turned out.

For some reason, in her toy box, she had a miniature couple that looked just about right in the pictures I took.

I learned a lot about dollhouses.

In fact, they were the number one "toy" is some fact sheets I found. and go back hundreds of years...or more!

 As work went on, I added pieces of the same wallpaer we had in each room.

I made a replica fireplace and built the stairs leading up to the second floor.

I used blocks of wood to recreate the refrigerator, sink and I even copied the blue couch in the living room.

Many times, our cat was also in the living room.

Depending on how he stretched out, he also extended himself into the kitchen and dining room.

 The project started in the winter, with snow on the ground, and was completed in the Spring.

Several people asked me for details on how I did this so I had a pamphlet made up.

It was offered to people interested in making one similar to their home.

Nine years ago, when I started my blog, I included a mention of it and today I received an email asking if the folder was still available. Well heck yeah!

My 9-year old daughter has grown up, and  is married now with a 4-year old boy of her own. The "House that Chuck built" vanished years ago BUT I searched around and found the brochure file.

If anyone else wants a special fun project, I can send details to you for only $10.

It explains how to do it from the first measurements of your REAL house to the final exterior matching paint that completes the special "toy" for your child.

Just let me know.

Thanks for stopping by in this, my old neighborhood,  in the middle of Missouri.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Get my "usual" two slices of Za?

Have found myself in a "Pizza Rut.

A comfortable routine. Until today.

I go to a favorite place just up Rivers Avenue from my home and get two slices of pepperoni and a beer.

The only variance would be the type of beer, offered at different times of the year.

Two slices filled the bill - and my belly - so a no brainer.

Met a friend today for lunch in Mt. Pleasant at Coleman Public House.
He had the Cuban Sandwich and I tried their shrimp and grits. Both were tasty with glasses of sweet tea.

We stepped outside and I pointed at an advertising gimmick - a huge, oversize pizza box I saw in the window of a pie place next store.

I went inside to comment that it was pretty catchy, a giant box display.

Adam Haselkorn said "No, that's the box we use for our very large pizzas."

Natosha Palmer smiled and said many people like our "Two Plate Special."

Adam was serving up a slice for a customer and I saw he had to use two paper plates for that piece of the pie.

I quickly did the math and realized that the slice was 14 inches long. Wow.

Benny Palmetto's Pizza is part of a 10-place chain that started in Virginia. As the link shows, all start with BENNY then add a location or attraction.

I saw a (540) phone number for delivery on the box but saw that applied only in Blacksburg. (Virginia?)

I had Natosha check how I had spelled her first name. It didn't look right.

"That's the German spelling, " she explained.

That reminded me I had had a 2-plater overseas last year in Prague, but I have never seen a complete 28-inch pie.

Still have not but I do plan to stop by there again soon. One of the specials I saw on a sign was "Buy two, get one free."

I'll remember that the next time I have a crowd of people over.

A very large crowd!

(Click on the photos and the links for more details.) 

Thanks for joining me in planning a future lunch today.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Hmmmm, think maybe this was PhotoShopped?

PhotoShop is a software program that let's you manipulate a photo.

It has come to be a derisive term that implies "cheating" on the image.

But other "tweaks" can be done without using PS:

Increase/decrease contrast.

Make a photo lighter or darker or crop it for dramatic effect.

But, yeah, this shot has been doctored like crazy.

PS has a clone tool that let's you copy a portion of the image and place it somewhere else. Like left and right hands on the guitar player seen here.

It was an interesting picture because of the 3-neck guitar played by Eddie Vaan Shaw.

The top is a 12-string guitar and the other two are more traditional 6-string.

I felt the two on the bottom felt left out so I corrected it.

The "swaying" building in Prague, Czech Republic, was actually designed and built that way by American architect Frank Owen Gehry.

He initially named it the Fred & Ginger building, after the famed dancing duo.

I did not have to alter anything about the "Gum Trees" that drew the attention of tourists and locals and, finally, the City.

A man with a steam machine was hired by the city to clean poles on four corners by the Custom House and the Market.

Who knows how and why the stick fad started but it wasn't the kind of image Charleston strives for.

After getting them clean, a sign warned Gummers that they would be fined a thousand dollars if they stuck with doing this.

I DID add the caption over the head of a tourist.

The picture of a "relaxed" Mickey Mouse was not retouched at all.

This was a lazy street entertainer on a main street in Las Vegas that I happened to spot as a passerby dropped a tip.

While others had to prance and dance and pose to gather tips, this person (male or female?) found a position that Disney never would approve.  The blue beer bottle was a perfect touch.

This dramatic photo was not Photo Shopped.

However, the contrast was boosted and saturation was increased.

It's pretty close to what I saw when I captured a pretty awesome scene on the Charles Bridge in Prague.

Because that area was filled with tourists milling around at all hours, I simply tilted my camera up a bit and shot over their heads.

Guess that was fooling around with the image.

But simply a planned approach to crowd control.

Another thing to do when the shot you want is too crowded, just wait a few moments.

Crowds ebb and flow and there will be a time when you can have fewer people in the picture.

The long scenic street shot in Lisbon, Portugal, could have used some cleaning up with software.

If you zoom in, you'll see the front of that beautiful iconic yellow electric trolley is totally covered with graffiti that was scribbled, scratched and painted on.

On other shots, where I am much closer, I did use a "paint brush" tool from PS.

With it, I was able to restore the original, pristine look that you saw on Lisbon t-shirts.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

PhotoShop is simply a tool and certainly can be overdone, creating a false look.

On occasion, I am guilty of that.

Thanks for stopping by.

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