Saturday, February 27, 2016

Vote early...beat the crowd.

I think voting on a weekend is better than on a Tuesday.

Absentee voting is the easiest!

Of course, I'm retired, so either day of the week will work for me.

This was the 2016 S.C. Primary voting day for Democrats, so I wanted to get to the polls early.

Didn't want to wait in a long line to cast my ballot.

Well, no long line.

No crowded parking lot at the middle school in Hanahan.

It was about 11 am on a Saturday so I must have missed the early morning crowd.


I was able to walk right in and see the three voting booths in the entryway. That's odd, there usually are many more booths and they are set up in the gym.

And there were only three poll volunteers.

One lady was wearing a t-shirt that made me smile.

Facebook had just added five new emoji faces to give more options than just the LIKE button.

This would have been a cute one to signify "Be quiet!"

As they checked my ID and signed me in, she mentioned she had bought it in Honduras while on a recent cruise.

I was the only voter standing there at the time, so we had a chance to chat. I learned there had NOT been a heavy, earlier turnout this morning.

She had worked the previous weekend and said the crowds were large and steady for that GOP primary selection day.

So, I had voted and saw a new version of the Smiley face.

I stuck on my sticker and went home for another coffee.

Maybe make me some ham biscuits. No, no, too soon after dieting for two weeks. Be strong!

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

Be sure to watch the election returns.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

OK, the 2-week diet has ended.....

In the spirit of two weeks of strict dieting, I ordered a side of broccoli with my meal.

Hyman's was not crowded on a Thursday evening.

Did not have to wait long for my crispy (that's fried)  flounder.

I gave away one of the hush puppies.

And had a tall glass of water. No lemon.

I was on my way to my second evening at the newly-remodeled Gaillard Center to see a stand-up comic who was new to me.

David Cross was a delight as Dr. Tobias Funke, on the tv show "Arrested Development" so I knew he could play a funny, off-beat character.

The usual merchandising table where performers offer CDs, t-shirts, etc. was missing at the Gaillard but a crowd formed in front of the Mr. Cross "Ask me anything" electronic greeter.

I stepped forward and spoke into the mic but the responses were on a pre-recorded loop so it really didn't matter what I said.

He made funny comments and had the crowd smiling even before we entered, heading to our seats.

It also prepared me to see him with a very full beard.

He lives in Atlanta and said this was his first comedy tour in 6 years and it had been interesting so far. David told us he had just heard he was the very first stand-up comic to appear in the renovated theater and he promised to properly inaugurate the "virginal" stage.

And he did.

It surely was a night we all would remember.

Well, not all, some got offended and walked out. I stuck around to the end to make sure I could take a picture of him on the stage he had just deflowered.

Here's a side-note if you have not been to the Gaillard Center yet.

To take a beverage into the theater, it has to be in the special carbon fiber beer cup or wine glass.

Each had a plastic lid, sort of like a child's "Sippy Cup." You pay $2 for the cup but you are encouraged to keep it and bring it along next time and save the $2.

Not sure if "encouraged" is the right word. Our bartender used the cups we brought, filled them with beer and made sure the lid was on tight securely so there would be no spillage.

At a Broadway theater last year in NYC, I saw these cups for the first time and refills were $2 less.

Yes, I DID have one beer at the the David Cross show. The 2-week diet had ended.

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

Hope you enjoyed his performance.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dangit! Grocery cart wheel wobble!

Saw a man outside of Ollie's in North Charleston, with a shopping cart.

What's unusual about that?

We see people pushing carts all the time.

The ones I choose often have a wobbly front wheel.

That ever happen to you?

But Jim Wilson, with an Ohio company called CARTS OF AMERICA, was fixing wobbly wheels on Ollie's carts.

I stopped and asked him an obvious question.."what makes a wheel skitter and bounce?"

He said it often starts when a store is collecting carts from the parking lot.

We've all seen the mechanical helper - with a motor - that Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, COSTCO, etc., use where a long string of inter-connected carts are being pushed while a single employee at the front leads the pack to the store.

I said I thought that was a very efficient way to corral a lot of carts at a time.

Jim sighed and said that very often, front wheels get turned sideways. 

It then is being dragged - not rolling - across the lot, creating a flat spot on the wheel. Result: thump,  bounce, thump, wiggle, thump,... well, you get the idea.

I looked into a cart filled with flat-spotted wheels he was replacing. Many had huge clots of material around the hub that could cause a wheel to stop turning.

He said that is dirt and debris found on the floor by stores which don't sweep often enough. Yeech.

I made a mental note to look down at the front two wheels of a cart before I choose it for my shopping.

I also asked how shopping carts can  lock the wheels when you leave the parking lot?  Tim said they have special wheels that lock when they pass over a boundary "invisible fence," a perimeter antenna. Signs on carts advise that this will happen.

Apparently they do work.

In my neighborhood, I used to see abandoned carts pushed into ditches. Some people I saw used them to haul things around their yards, just as if they had bought it at a store!

Uh, that was stealing.

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

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Three years in the making....

The last show I saw at the "OLD" Gaillard Theater was k.d.lang.

She was in top voice and I was in the front row.

Yes, I took a few pictures. That's what I do.

At the end, I stood and stepped forward, holding my upturned hand. She handed me her guitar pick.  Cool.

Then the place was shut down for 3 years of renovations.

During Spoleto a few months later, I walked into the TD Arena for a rock & Roll show.

Hanging on the wall there was a huge mural depicting what the NEW Gaillard Center (Centre?) would look like.

I had a buddy snap a few shots of me in front of the artist's rendering, with the idea of inserting myself into the image.

I was pleased that it turned out just the way I had envisioned.

I had cloned a seat back so it now appeared that I was seated in one of the boxes in, I guess, the Dress Circle?

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I went to see the CJO (Charleston Jazz Orchestra) starring jazz diva Diane Shuur.

Diane and the local Jazz group were the openers for the Arturo Sandoval show. The percussion-filled performance by his 5-piece backing group featured the master "horn player" displaying his amazing talents.

OK, during the intermission, as I walked around admiring the new look, I took out a copy of my 3-year old fantasy creation.

A helpful usher suggested I needed to go up the stairs to find the area where I had visually created a seat for myself.

These were "private" boxes with closed doors so I peeked into several before I found the target area that I sought.

I had a ticket for a floor seat so really didn't "belong" up here.

Several occupants saw the image I had printed and was trying to match and even suggested I sit down in a vacant seat.

Not wanting to intrude too much, I just stood and had a picture quickly snapped.

Mission accomplished.

(Click on the images and links to see more details.)

Thanks to the nice people in the box - and the usher - who helped me zero in on where I had "seated" myself three years ago.

The renovation was marvelous to see.

 I plan to attend many events there.
Thanks City of Charleston!

And former Mayor Joe Riley.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Happy Mardi Gras ...Texas style!

A bonus while strolling around with my son and his family in San Antonio, was a "preview Mardi Gras" on the famed RiverWalk. 

The boats came by with their "Crewes," tossing beads to the amphitheater crowd.

Several NOLA-type jazz bands played in the background.

And a LOT of sponsoring Bud Lights were being consumed. Far as I saw, nobody fell into the river.

I, of course, set a fine image for my son and grand kids. Drank nary a drop!

Tourists-filled boats would glide by every few minutes and several got mixed in with the colorful theme-decorated boats.

What an added adventure for them!

I had flown to San Antonio to be there when my 19-year old grandson graduated from Air Force basic training and became Airman Boyd, Andrew S.

My son, his wife and their daughter and I were very proud of this young man.

I bit my tongue a few times to not utter comments about how the Marines did boot camp "back in my day."

That was then and this is now.

He went through 7.5 weeks of what the Air Force dishes out to its trainees.

Young Andrew was in the top 10% of his class. That works for me and for his dad and family.

Through the use of a Topaz plug-in photo software called Lens Effects, I was able to make him the focus center of attention.

As his Flight marched toward us in the viewing stands, I took this photo then later used selective blurring on my computer.

I did mention that we Marines had the same raincoat with the zip-out liner back in the 1950s. Ours were green of course, not Air Force blue.

The weather in San Antonio was quite pleasant, in the 60s during the day and just above freezing at night. 

Airman Boyd was excited to put on civvies again to spend some family time before he starts technical training on Monday. 

Over the weekend, we ate in a Lackland AFB Food Court among extremely healthy young men and women, all wearing camo gear.

On liberty, we explored the Alamo and the RiverWalk and drove out to nearby Natural Bridge Caverns.

We also went to a hockey game at AT & T Center and the San Antonio Rampage won 5-2. 

The ice was tinted pink for Breast Cancer awareness and the home team wore pink jerseys which were auctioned off afterwards as a fund raiser.

(Click on the photos and links to see more details.) 

Thanks for sharing a family-proud weekend with us.

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