The Rain in Maine Falls Plainly on the Insane

Pumpkin Island Lighthouse

Having gorged ourselves on a gourmet breakfast, we packed up cameras and maps and set off in search of coastline and lighthouses. There was just one small hitch – the wind was howling and it was dumping rain. We may have lost our minds to be going out in weather like this, but hanging around the B&B surrounded by creepy Gothic decor would have been just as bad.

We started our trek with a turn through the town of Belfast. We had only explored on foot last night. It looks as if there is lots to see and do, including a footbridge across the Penobscot, and a higher walkway along the US 1 bridge. We may have to spend more time exploring this area.

The rain kept kept a steady pace as we headed north on US 1 through Searsport. I wanted to stop and photograph all the interesting old farm houses and churches. If we had done that we would have never made it out of town. There’s just much more interesting architecture here. Continue reading “The Rain in Maine Falls Plainly on the Insane”

From Greenville to Belfast

Penobscot Bay at Belfast

Even if today hadn’t been the summer solstice, it was still going to be a long one. We got up, packed our last-minute gear, said goodbye to the cats, heat, and humidity of Greenville, and headed for the cooler climes of Belfast, Maine.

The first leg of our flight was from Greenville to Philadelphia, and apart from being a bit bumpy, was uneventful and relatively quick. The second leg was a bit more exciting. While landing, our flight attendant stated that this was the third time she had landed with one blown out tire, and the smoothness of the landing (or lack thereof) reflected that.

Then there was the matter of our luggage. TSA had apparently seen fit to disassemble my brand-new tripod, which was in my checked baggage, but hadn’t bother to put it back together. For awhile I was worried that they had broken it. Eventually, though, we made it to Portland, got our rental car, and headed up the coast of Maine.

The weather was much cooler, and rainy. Since conditions weren’t great for coastal sightseeing, we decided to drop by Freeport and the home of L. L. Bean. The place was a zoo, with people from all over dropping to pay homage to the quintessential purveyors of monogrammed yuppiedom. We were not immune. We purchased two very nice windbreaker/rain slickers, and I got a great straw hat. We were now set for Maine weather.

L. L. Bean interiorL. L. Bean in Freeport Continue reading “From Greenville to Belfast”

Another Busy Week

I’m looking and my last blog post was for last Sunday. I find it hard to believe that it’s been a whole week since I last posted anything here, but it’s been that kind of week. Right now I’m sitting in an airport waiting to board a flight Maine, where I hope to get some … Continue reading Another Busy Week

Rope Swings, Rednecks, and Riverfest

It’s the second Saturday of the month, so it must be time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered adventure. Our goal was to retrace our tracks from July of last year and paddle a section of the Edisto River from Mars Old Field Landing down to Givhen’s Ferry State Park. This time, against their better judgment, my brothers Stephen and Houston agreed to come along.

Houston met me in Greenville and we loaded up the boats, then spent the night at Stephen’s place in Sumter. Early that morning we headed on down for our rendezvous with the rest of the gang.

Saturday was also the date for the Edisto Riverfest. We weren’t sure what to expect in terms of crowds, both at the parks and on the river itself. We decided to leave the boats with Stephen at the put-in, then drop off the truck at the take-out. That way if things got bad we could paddle straight through and load up and go without having to wait for the rest of the group. Turns out that wasn’t going to be a problem. Continue reading “Rope Swings, Rednecks, and Riverfest”

Of BOOBs and Curves

Swamp Rabbit Tilt-Shift OOB

Nope, not what you’re thinking. If you came here looking for something else, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. This will be a dull-by-comparison tutorial on Photoshop. In this case BOOB stands for Bridge Out Of Bounds, and Bezier curves are the cool masking technique I’ve finally mastered to make intricate OOB (Out Of Bounds) images possible.

In an OOB, the image appears to break through a frame in the image. Imagine you have a framed photo hanging and part of that photo escaped onto the wall – that’s the effect that OOBs try to achieve. I’ve written about them before here, and there is a great Flickr discussion group dedicated to OOBs. Here is the first one that I ever attempted, where my kayak appears to leap out of the photo.

Tom Kayak OOB

Continue reading “Of BOOBs and Curves”

2009 Scottish Games at Furman

Piping Competition

This morning I loaded up the photo and recording gear and headed up to Furman for the 2009 Greenville Scottish Games. It was a great day to be outside – finally no rain, and not too terribly hot. I decided to check out the games, and see if I could get a bit more information on family history.

The crowds were gathering, but not too back. Shuttle buses were running from the parking areas, so I boarded one. I should have walked. The bus I was on circled the same route twice until it had enough people to head on up to the games proper. I was beginning to wonder if we were on some perverse infinite loop.

I made it to the games and shelled out the rather pricey $15 for admission. This gained me entrance to a wonderland of Gaelic activity. In one field were the athletic competitions – caber toss, sheaf toss, and hammer throw. In another were the sheep dog trials. A tent was set up for dancing competitions, and pipers were competing on a hill near Cherrydale. There were vendors for food and Gailic stuff set up near the stadium, along with a large tent with a stage for bands. The main field was ringed with the clan tents, and each of the aforementioned competitions were featured on the main field at one point or another. Quite a lot to see. Continue reading “2009 Scottish Games at Furman”


[Warning – unabashed political rant ahead]

I’ve been rather quiet on the subject of our idiot governor and his refusal to apply for stimulus funds.  Now that the matter is settled, I wish that my former classmate would just shut up and slink away until his term is up.  This has been a case of the worst type of political grandstanding at the expense of the citizens of our state.

Whether or not you agree with the concept of stimulus funds in general is moot.  The funds had been allocated.  If Sanford had not applied for them the funds would have been redistributed to other states.  Yet, the people of South Carolina would still have had to pay for the stimulus funds through our taxes.  It would be a case of us paying taxes but receiving no benefits, and solely because of a grandstanding idiot. Continue reading “Stimulust”

Friday Freaks – The Ekronoplan

In my RSS feed reader I have a folder for websites called “Weirdness.” This folder orgnizes feeds from such unusual sites as Awkward Family Photos, Cracked, Mental Floss, Fail Blog, and Dark Roasted Blend, among others. Sometimes I’ll get a link to a new website that joins the list of weird feeds. Every now and then something pops up on one of those sites that is worthy of more than just a bookmark or a Tweet. So, I’m going to try to highlight the best of these with a Friday Freaks post on, you got it, Fridays!

Today’s Freak comes from Dark Roasted Blend, and it’s the Ekronoplan, an unusual ground effects vehicle from the Cold War Soviet Union that is part boat, part, aircraft, and all weirdness. The Ekronoplan is so weird, in fact, that DRB devoted two posts to this unusual vehicle. Continue reading “Friday Freaks – The Ekronoplan”