America’s Pub and Grub

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I was looking for a new place to try for dinner, so I turned to Urbanspoon to see if there was someplace close to home I had overlooked. Since I’d had a large Italian meal last night, I was more in the mood for sandwiches or something lighter tonight. America’s Pub and Grub popped up, and had generally positive reviews, so I decided to give it a try.

The place had two things going for it. First, the word “pub” has good memories for me. Several years ago when we visited London the best food we found was in the pubs. Also, the reviews seemed to indicate that Cajun cuisine was available. This area is sorely lacking in authentic Cajun options, so I wanted to see what they might have. So, it was off to America’s Pub and Grub.

Background:

From what I could read online, the place has only been open for a year or so. This location has been problematic for restaurants. I still remember the incident at Benito’s Italian, which was located right next door. Guadalajara Mexican now occupies that space, but there are also two nightclubs in the area. I didn’t know what to expect.

Atmosphere:

The outside looks nice and invited. However, a sign on the door advertised a “hookah bar”, and also said that inside smoking was permitted after 9:00 pm. The lingering odor of smoke nearly had me turning around and walking out, but I headed on back in.

The interior has been done with urban black grey tones. It’s a small place, and a bar dominates one corner. Seating was a bit weird. There were a few tiny tables that would hardly accommodate one, much less a couple. The only other tables were in three alcoves that could easily seat six. I took one of the alcoves. These images are from their website… Continue reading “America’s Pub and Grub”

Paddling to Columbia

Alan at Shoals

I’ve always been intrigued by the Broad River, especially the stretch starting at the Peak trestle. It looks like it would be a great paddling venue, but unfortunately public access points are few and far between. The next access point downstream from Peak is Harbison State Forest, near Columbia. Alan wanted to do a trip for Memorial Day weekend, and it looked like the perfect opportunity to hit this stretch. It turned out to be the longest single-day trip I’ve every attempted, but it was another great day on the water.

The SC Trails website describes the Peak to Harbison stretch as a 22-mile paddle. This site lists the put-in about a mile upstream at the Highway 213 bridge. The route also describes paddling down to the I-20 bridge, then back up for some reason. I had been down to the 213 put-in, and it was a very rough drive down, and a difficult launch. The new access point at the trestle seemed much better, and would shorten the trip a bit.

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Even so, I knew it would be a challenge. However, I was hoping that a strong current would make it easier than if we were doing a flatwater trip of the same distance. All the same, I wanted to get an early start. In addition to Alan, my brother Houston and his two friends Steve and Jeannie Boyette would be joining us. The plan was to meet at the put-in at 8:30 am, run the shuttle, and get on the water by 10:00. Continue reading “Paddling to Columbia”

Blog Migration Complete

It’s done. I now have more control over my online destiny. Today I migrated my domain name, randomconnections.com, to a host that gives me more flexibility and management – Godaddy, of all things.

First, the saga of the blog…

My old web hosting company was Accuwebhosting. It was an absolute pain in the posterior, as for as hosting was concerned. I was severely restricted as to what I could do with databases, and I could only allow uploads to one subdirectory. The first version of this blog was a home-grown ASP application. The blog kept crashing, and the host provider said it was my recursive ASP scripts. Yeah, right.

So, I switched over to WordPress. It was actually cleaner and much easier to use, but my blog still crashed and my hosts still complained. They wanted me to delete some of my content to make the site run more efficiently. Yeah, right.

WordPress kept upgrading their products. When version 2.5 came along I wanted to upgrade so that I could take advantage of some of the security features. My host informed me that I would have to upgrade my platform, which would mean deleting my current database and reconstructing everything from scratch. Yeah, right. Continue reading “Blog Migration Complete”

Whither Photography?

A long time ago I used to do calligraphy. I was pretty good at it, and picked up some spare change by doing place cards for wedding receptions, invitations, and a couple of framed pieces. I didn’t do anything fancy – just basic Old English and script fonts. I had the correct pens, and that … Continue reading Whither Photography?

Sparkleberry Perfection

Sparkleberry Landing Panorama

A second Saturday in May, and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered trip. This time our group was heading back to Sparkleberry Swamp, and we had perfect weather and water levels for it. Unfortunately, because there was perfect weather, many of our group had other places to be. So, only four brave souls ventured further into the swamp than we’ve ever been. It was a nearly perfect day in the swamp. (Have I said the word “perfect” enough?)

Lowcountry Unfiltered at Sparkleberry Swamp

I got up early Saturday morning and made the drive down to the Sparkleberry Landing put-in. Initially I had the place to myself, with only a few boat trailers. As I unloaded the boats I brought, a couple of guys came up to me and asked about kayaking. Continue reading “Sparkleberry Perfection”

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne

To Joy

Joy, thou beauteous godly lighting,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire drunken we are ent’ring
Heavenly, thy holy home!

Thy enchantments bind together,
What did custom stern divide;
Every man becomes a brother,
Where thy gentle wings abide.

Be embrac’d, ye millions yonder!
Take this kiss throughout the world!
Brothers—o’er the stars unfurl’d
Must reside a loving father.

–Friedrich Schiller, 1786

Last night the Greenville Chorale joined forces with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  The 9th is one of my favorite pieces, and I’ve had the privilege to perform it once before.  Last night’s performance, though was one of the most stirring I’ve ever experienced.

For the Chorale, the piece came together fairly quickly.  Many of us were familiar with the music, but also the chorus doesn’t sing that much in the concert.  We’re only there for the last half of the last movement of the piece – about 20 minutes worth. Bing Vick often let us out of rehearsals early, which was a nice change of pace.

However, that is a VERY challenging 20 minutes.  First there is the range.  The piece is written at the extreme upper vocal range for all parts.  I can’t think of another piece that has the basses singing a high F as many times and as long as this one does.  Then there was the tempo set by Maestro Tchivzhel – fast, then blindingly fast.  We had to squeeze a mouthful of German syllables into such a fast pace that I don’t think any of us got all of the words correct, even in the final performance.  Oh, yeah, they had to be on the right pitches and at the right dynamic, too.  It was a bear. Continue reading “O Freunde, nicht diese Töne”

Telecom Scam

Yesterday several of our schools received an invoice similar to the one above. The invoice is for a service agreement that “covers preventative maintenance on all telecom system equipment, including, [sic] telephone instruments, switches, routers, & cabling.” The bill was for $425, and since it included technology equipment, it wound up on my desk. Of … Continue reading Telecom Scam