31 May 2009

Lenin Wall - for Julia

Lenin Wall, Photograph

Julia, a lowcountry gal who lives and blogs from Prague, Czechoslovakia, recently posted an entry on the Lenin Wall. I thought I would surprise her with this shot taken right here in Charleston.

I cheated of course.

The Lenin Wall, according to Wikipedia: The Lennon Wall is a wall in Prague, Czech Republic. Once a normal wall, since the 1980s it has been filled it with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs.

In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the then communist regime of Gustav Husak. Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall and in a report of the time this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge.

This morning I ended my walk by strolling through the Spoleto Art show in Marion Square and treated myself as I do each year by stopping by the Ron Rocz photography tent. Ron is based in Charleston and has the most beautiful pictures not only of the lowcounty but the Mississippi Delta Blues, Russia and Peru. According to his web site the Lenin Wall has been his top selling photograph.

I got up the nerve to ask if he would mind me taking a photograph of his photograph and he was kind enough to let me do it for this very purpose. Apparently the wall is continuously painted over so each time it looks completely different.

The John Lennon Wall, located near the Certovka Canal in Prague, The Czech Republic, is a colorful, graffiti-filled, active and on-going memorial to this cultural icon. It originated in 1980, at the time of John Lennon's assassination, when an unknown person drew the shape of a tombstone on this side-street wall, inscribing John's name and dates of birth and death. Through the years, with the wall surviving political repression, river floods, and more than one re-stuccoing, visitors have and continue to add their own artwork and heart-felt messages to John.

I noticed that Ron had a book called Seeing Charleston that might be of interest if you photograph Charleston. It is a handy pocket guide with sections on locations in historic Charleston and the Lowcountry. It is filled with location and technical tips as well as inspiring quotes by famous photographers.

Thanks Ron! I've been snooping at your work for years. It was an honor to meet you.

30 May 2009

Spoleto Craft Show Fun

Isn't this amazing? I enlarged just the inside feature. The artist was Nicario Jimenez, Artist of the Andes.

Shao Lin Xia CanDoPlanes. These tickled me to no end. The artist was an aerospace engineer who was laid off and started making airplanes out of soda cans. I bought a little coca cola plane to hang in my kitchen window. They looked delightful spinning in the breeze.

Meghan Runkle of Rare Earth Studio had these fun handbag teapots for sale and I had to take a picture for our local Tea Blogger.

Alan Daigre Handcrafted Chairs is the official featured artist of Charleston Daily Photo. It's only fair since he is renting my upstairs room. I had the apartment empty after my tenant skipped and happened to notice a "Spoleto Artist needs room..." ad on Craiglist. I slapped some paint up last weekend and dusted it down in time for him to have a handy place to stay within walking distance of the show.

Wow. His handcrafted rocking chairs are amazing. Since the individual pieces of wood are roped together they gently give when you settle in. Every person who sat in them "oooohed" and "aaaaahed". Go ahead. If you get to the show at Wragg Square tomorrow, sit and rock a spell and say "hey" to Alan from Tennessee.

Saturday Funny

Meeting St., Charleston, SC

Today's joke is snitched as so many are lately from Miss Celliana.

A young woman out grocery shopping wheels her cart up to the checkout line, only to realize that she's forgotten one item tampons. An attentive bagboy notices the woman's bemused expression and asks if there's a problem.

"Oh, I just forgot to get something important," the woman replies.

The bagboy, eager to assist a pretty customer, politely offers to go and get for her whatever item she's forgotten.

Quite embarrassed but in a hurry to leave, the young woman whispers to the bagboy that she needs a box of Tampax. "No problem, he says, I’ll be right back!".

The young woman is relieved and appreciates the help, as she waits at the register with a line forming behind her.

Meanwhile, the bagboy has misunderstood the woman's shyly whispered request, and is now searching for a box of thumbtacks.

Eventually he finds the thumbtacks, but is confused by the different choices available.

Imagine the young woman's reaction when the bagboy comes trotting back up to the register calling to her "Miss, do you want the kind that you push in, or the kind that you hammer in?"

29 May 2009

Charleston Renovation Project

Vanderhorst St., Charleston, SC

It's going to be a beauty when it is finished but doesn't it seem like it has taken years? I can hardly remember a time when they weren't working on it.

I know I am, but what are you?

Sidewalk profiles.
I know I am, but what are you?
Charleston, SC

28 May 2009

Bach at Ya!

So very, very cool. Snitched from Boing, Boing.

These two amazingly talented women run up and down the keys on the giant floor-piano at FAO Schwarz, belting out an astounding rendition of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Bach never sounded so good.

Somebody kiss me! I just had my teeth cleaned

Atesha & Dr. Maria Cordova, 159 Wentworth St., Charleston, SC

I scrambled from work to Roper Hospital to take (be in!) a group photo and then ran down Rutledge Ave. to make it to my dentist's office for my six month removal of tea stains. They have their work cut out for them to get my teeth shiny and white. Tea drinkers probably keep dental hygienists in business.

Dr. Maria Cordova poked her head in and politely lifted my backpack for me, not realizing it was weighed down with my camera and flash. When I told her what was so heavy it made sense to take their picture. If you live on the peninsula it is awfully nice to be able to walk to a good dentist.

Some of you know my history. When I was a kid I went to a dentist with a foot pedal operated drill. Yikes. You have to be good and gentle to keep me coming back. I hid from dentists for many years. I insist they make my follow up appointment before I leave or I won't show up for another ten years.

Thanks ladies!

27 May 2009

A Book by any Other Name

Let's go for a bike ride and exercise our owner!
Warren St., Charleston, SC

Photo unrelated to entry. Get used to it.

My sister Barbara In Kingston, Ontario sent me a book that I set aside and didn't read. When my brother Bob from Dunnville, Ontario sent the same book to me for my birthday I figured I'd better read it.

It was a terrific book, the story of a bright young girl who was kidnapped in Africa during the slave trade. Her mother had been a midwife and she had some skills that helped her along her journey. I soon figured out why my siblings had sent it to me from Canada. The heroine of the book begins her life in America where most slaves did, on Sullivan's Island. She was sold to an owner who operated an Indigo Plantation and then to a Jewish man who lived in Charleston. Many of the names in the book are common lowcountry names today.

I'd never heard of the book before.

Here is why. The name of this book which has won numerous awards in Canada is The Book of Negroes.

I used The Book of Negroes as the title for my novel, in Canada, because it derives from a historical document of the same name kept by British naval officers at the tail end of the American Revolutionary War. It documents the 3,000 blacks who had served the King in the war and were fleeing Manhattan for Canada in 1783. Unless you were in The Book of Negroes, you couldn't escape to Canada. My character, an African woman named Aminata Diallo whose story is based on this history, has to get into the book before she gets out.

I was completely unaware that over 3,000 freed slaves had been shipped to Nova Scotia.

Author Lawrence Hill was told that his book would not sell under it's original name in the US and the title was changed to Someone Knows My Name.

I've got two copies if anyone local wants a good read or order here. Thanks Barb! Thanks Bob.

Reserved Parking

Bike Parking. Reserved!, Calhoun St., Charleston, SC

It's good to have reserved parking.

Always fun. Make your own kaleidoscope.

Wow. I didn't know how to spell kaleidoscope. Not even close.

26 May 2009

Feeding Time in the Rookery

Magnolia Plantation, Audubon Swamp Walk, Charleston, SC

It's feeding time in the nursery! Find your binoculars and take the Audubon Swamp Walk at Magnolia Plantation. The swamp is alive with activity and noise. About halfway in, you realize that the trees are over-crowded apartment complexes of nesting birds with squawking babies. It is an awesome sight. Sadly my camera lens didn't do it justice but my eyeballs were having a happy feast. Larger version here.

Heck. I ought to get a free annual admission to Magnolia Plantation as much as I promote the place.

Check out the gator laying calmly in his path below. Some of my days have felt like that lately. Walk gingerly. Caution. Caution.

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC

Photo unrelated to entry. As usual.

Each year in Shillong, the quirky hillside town I grew up in north east India, Bob Dylan's birthday is celebrated in grand style. He has never been there but when he is ready, I'll take him home and introduce him. My brother lives there still and he would have a grand welcome. I attended St. Mary's, the school mentioned in the article. How fun is this? Very fun.

Shillong singer keeps Dylan legacy blowin' in the wind

Published: May 23, 2009, 23:50
Shillong: The sunlit hall of the local St Mary's College for girls in this picture postcard capital of Meghalaya sways to the chants of Forever Young - a signature 1974 Bob Dylan track.

An aging musician with stained teeth, long hair and childlike smile strums his guitar and eggs on nearly 500 schoolgirls to join the chorus. Everyone carries placards proclaiming "Happy Birthday Dylan". It's a practice session for a Dylan's birthday concert today.

Meet Lou Majaw, the 62-year-old Dylan of northeastern India, who has been singing Bob Dylan's songs and improvising on them for the past 43 years.

Bob Dylan's Birthday Bash
Shillong: The birthday boy was missing but not the fanfare and the songs immortalized in the 60s were found still blowing in the wind. No other city, perhaps, has been celebrating Bob Dylan's birthday without a break for the past 38 years. And on Sunday, it was no different in Shillong.

25 May 2009

Memorial Day. Thank You.

Charleston, SC

I gave a friend a ride home last week and had a glimpse into an incredible life. I caught him as he'd been sorting through his cedar chest and happened to have things usually kept tucked away spread out on his bed. I took the opportunity to snoop a little deeper.

I had my little pocket camera with me and laid out just a few of the amazing pieces that documented his story of driving tanks in Northern Africa and Italy. As most of the soldiers in WWII he was uncomfortable with my interest and repeated, "I didn't do anything really."

You did everything. Really.

Thank you.

23 May 2009

Summer Fun

Botany Bay, SC

I don't know who the kids are but they were having the time of their lives.

I grew up in hills and mountains and clearly remember how amazing my first real beach vacation was. My kids were toddlers, the perfect age. I was living in West Virginia and spent a week in Duck, NC. It was magical. I still can't resist watching a child discover the ocean.

I started my day in high energy but crashed and burned early. I went to a fundraising pancake breakfast at Applebee's, painted the ceiling in my rental apartment, spackled to prep for more painting tomorrow (blah), had my porches power washed (thanks Charlie!), found a new tenant on Craigslist, signed the lease, and enjoyed a picnic at Botany Bay. Then sadly I hit the couch and am reviving now that it is too late to do anything. I hope everyone is having a good holiday weekend.

Lowcountry Roads

Edisto Island, SC

If I was an artist, this is what I would paint. Since I am not, I asked my patient driver to stop in the middle of the road and let me out for a moment. I love these lowcountry roads.

22 May 2009

Friday Blog Hopping

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, SC

Pen & Ink Illustrations: check this entry for the loveliest birthday wish to a mother.

Beautiful ads about Amtrak. It's about time, eh?

Manhole covers from around the world. Neato. As often as I point my camera on the ground you'd think I'd have some of these.

Fresh flowers die. :(. Send a Hoopla Forever Bouquet!

The Problem with Young People Today is........

Freaky YouTube Monster.

It's Friday kids! Hip, hip, hurray! I cut it close but I did make it to my matinee at the Terrace Theater just a few minutes late. I went to see Is Anybody There with Michael Caine and sat in the dark with my mug of hot tea. Let the weekend begin. What is everyone up to?

21 May 2009

Do I have red eye?

You know you want to. Go Terminate yourself. I snitched this from the source of all good stuff: The Presurfer.

Okay, okay. I am stepping away from the computer. Sheeesh.

Edit: I changed the entry title. Don't want folks to think I've been "terminated". Good jobs are rare and precious jewels these days.

Teach a man to fish and he'll cruise forever

Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC

I didn't want to sound like a know-it-all but I could have told him he needed a bigger net to catch that ship. Harhar.

20 May 2009

Angel in the window

Coming St., Charleston, SC

I think I saw an angel but I'm not sure.

I need an angel tonight. Lord. I need to get out of the landlady business. I came back from my trip to a "Dear Joan...." letter. My tenant skipped while I was away.

Since the room had been passed from one person to another without any gap it really does need attention. I've been painting the bathroom and I'm just not in the mood anymore. I don't want to paint rooms for other people. I don't want to pull off the stickers they put all over the washing machine and the little seahorse stickers they stuck on the tub tiles.

If I never paint another room it will be okay with me. Meanwhile, standing on the toilet to reach the ceiling started a nice steady drip of water from the back of the tank. Drip, drip. Aaargh.

Do angels paint bathrooms? This one looks like she might.

19 May 2009

Faith, Truth, Power

Faith, Truth, Power, Duncan st., Charleston, SC

Ummmm..isn't that supposed to be Faith, Hope and Charity?

These folks set up an entry called Having Fun with Money at Work. Too bad. I really had a few projects I meant to work on tomorrow. Now I have to play with my money.

Bedtime for Joannie. I went to see Angels & Demons at Cinebarre this evening and ate a pizza while I watched murders of priests in Roman churches. I've never been to Cinebarre before but it is one of those theaters where you can order drinks and meals served at your seat. I liked it. It worked very well and they handled food service without being disruptive.

G'night kids.

18 May 2009

What's for dinner?

I am home late after meetings, starving as usual and my cupboards seem bare. I can't really complain since this is what I ate last night. Isn't it gorgeous? It looks like a work of art. Fine, fine foodie art. Fine art and I had to eat it before it melted.

Chef Sean Brock was cooking dinner for a group that had won a dinner party at a charity auction. They set the table on the porch at Thornhill Farms in McClellanville and it was suggested that I might take a few pictures. Yes. I think so. The guests clearly enjoyed their feast, made of all local organic ingredients while I got to watch the hustle and bustle in the kitchen, admire the art work and eat it. I didn't even have to do the dishes. Am I the luckiest person in the world?

Maria Baldwin of Our Local Foods, Inc. joined me as we tasted all of the food. Curious about the other courses? Here and here. Yum and yum.

It was all so fresh and colorful I felt like I was sitting in the garden pulling it up, shaking the dirt off and popping it in my mouth. In fact, the long stringy things in the dessert? Chocolate covered baby carrots.

The whole liquid nitrogen process fascinates me.

Now, what can I eat tonight?

17 May 2009

Smashed to smithereens

Charleston, SC

Welcome to my kitchen. This is just a small section of what my entire kitchen floor looked like this morning.

Late last year I decided to clean out my kitchen and get rid of things I hadn't been using. I put boxes of glasses, mugs and rarely used gadgets out for colleges students to help themselves. I may have gone a little far since I had trouble setting a complete table for seven when my folks were here but as a rule I am just cooking for myself and don't need as much as I used to.

That's why I was stunned this morning as I stood at the sink to suddenly watch almost all of my glassware fall out of the cabinets, bounce on the counter top and smash on to the floor. Not one thing survived the fall. It was an incredible racket. Naturally I was in bare feet and could just reach a couple aprons on a wall hook to throw down to walk on.

What a mess! All of my ice cream dishes, salad plates, drinking glasses and coffee cups smashed to smithereens. A little detective work later and I found that one of the little plastic pieces that hold the end of the shelf in place broke and the entire shelf went down hitting the things on the lower shelf and taking them with it. If I hadn't been home when it happened I would have assumed there had been crazy vandals in my home. I've swept and mopped and am still crunching glass.

Paper plates for me I reckon. :)

Yes We Can!

Yes We Can, Eutawville, SC

Yes we can!

Ooops. Maybe not. Looks like the "Yes We Can" project is temporarily closed. I couldn't even tell what it was in the first place.

Don't tell President Obama. He still has a lot to do.

Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance

Faith, Hope and Charity Church, Coach Rd., SC

I love coming across these sweet country churches. This one is in the Eutawville area.

Fig Leaf Found

A little boy opened the large old family Bible, and he looked with fascination at the ancient pages as he turned them one by one.

He was still in Genesis when something fell out of the Bible. He picked it up and looked at it closely. It was a very large old tree leaf that had been pressed between the pages of the Bible long ago."Momma, look what I found!" the boy called out.

"What do you have there?" his mother asked.

With astonishment in his voice, the young boy answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear!"

15 May 2009

Chasing the Black Cab - Colonial Lake

Charleston Black Cab, Colonial Lake, Charleston, SC

This basket is so pretty it almost makes me want to get a bike to put it on.

Since I visited the school for the blind in Kenya I've had the urge to fill a box with harmonica's, more flutes, and music boxes etc.

Yet another bacon product. Yep. Bacon lubricant.

Happily single? Take the Quirky Alone quiz. Whoops. My score was 115 which equals: Your score was 115. Very quirkyalone: Relatives may give you quizzical looks, and so may friends, but you know in your heart of hearts that you are following your inner voice. Though you may not be romancing a single person, you are romancing the world.

When I am overseas I think that Americans work way too hard and I want to get a job renting bicycles on Folly Beach.

I bought my tenant one of these little recycled bicycles in Kenya. It was the only cool gift I found. She put it in her front window so everyone can see it.

I've been thinking about making sock monkeys wearing red dresses as a Heart Association fundraiser. Today the funniest googled search link to land people on the blog was Monkeys wear red dresses to seduce geraniums. Perfect. Now google is reading my mind.

I'll admit I only do hodge podge entries after a glass of wine. Thank you spell check.

What is everyone doing this weekend?

14 May 2009

Massacre at the Y

Middleton Plantation, Charleston, SC

I was looking for a picture to go with this entry and came across this shot of myself at the Garden Festival at Middleton from a few years ago. It was a bad hair day.

I had a good laugh at these Euphemisms for Menstruation on Miss Celliana's blog. It's proper for me to re-post them because I was a nurse and I am supposed to talk happily about these bodily functions. There are some I've never heard of in this batch!

Euphemisms for Menstruation

10. Miss Scarlett’s Come Home to Tara

9. A Dishonorable Discharge from the Uterine Navy

8. Saddling Old Rusty

7. Massacre at the Y

6. T-Minus 9 Months and Holding

5. Game Day for the Crimson Tide

4. Panty Shields Up, Captain!

3. Taking Carrie to the Prom

2. Ordering l’Omelette Rouge

1. Rebooting the Ovarian Operating System

13 May 2009

Saving your digital images

Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, SC

It's time to whisk you back to the Lowcountry.

Larry Collins from WCBD Channel 2 called yesterday to see if I would talk to them for a few minutes about saving digital image files. Wowza! It must be my fifteen seconds of fame :). Larry and cameraman Malik met me down at the waterfront park and hooked me up to the microphone.

The story is that someone found and turned in a camera memory card full of peak moments - birthdays, births, weddings. These are the pictures that become a family's history. If the owner hadn't saved them elsewhere they are all gone. Sad but I bet it happens a lot.

There are a lot of choices - saving to your hard drive, USB drive, external hard drive, burning to CD's and DVD's.

You all know what I do - I am a loyal smugmug.com member. I upload directly from my cards to smugmug and sort things by events or time periods. I had to have some system because I need to be able to tell folks where to go to look for event pictures and people are always calling me to find pictures from years ago. I am not an artist or professional photographer but I am a workhorse photographer and deal in bulk!

There are many free storage sites and smugmug does charge $39.95 a year but it has such attractive album displays and viewers have access to the full resolution image. I've been pleased with orders I've placed. It's been well worth the annual fee. I can get as many as 80,000 hits in a month with a few events where I have handed out the link.

Online storage sites:

Flickr even has a Museum of Found Images album where members upload pictures they have found.

New Eye-Fi wireless will let your images flow from your camera to your computer or without taking the card out of the camera. Sounds like a dream!

One thing I did mention and need to do better at myself is to make sure someone else has the login password to my site in case something should happen to me. It would be a shame for years of photos to disappear.

I spent hours going through my grandparent's drawers of black and white pictures. I have a sneaky feeling that although we take a lot more pictures these days we won't have as many to leave for the next generation if we aren't paying some attention to how we are preserving them. With the older film cameras we automatically had built in back up with our negatives.

Larry expects the spot to air tomorrow, Thursday on the 6 pm news. Thanks guys! Make me look good.

12 May 2009

Charleston to Kenya - Parting Shots

The AIG dancer

Labour Ward Sign

A Humble Request

Chef Sean Brock had asked for some Kenya Seeds. Since I couldn't bring back seeds I stole the Kenya Seed Company Calendar from Moses's office for him.

President Obama Belt Buckle

Trespassers Will Be Poisoned

To Be Lazy

Native Homes

Scott Gives Hacky Sack Demonstration

Okay! Back to business as usual at the Charleston Daily Photo and work tomorrow. Sob.