Snowpocalypse 2014

Backyard Snow Panorama
Backyard Panorama

Winter is one of my favorite times to get out and about and do some cool stuff. You can see so much more without leaves and undergrowth in the way. I was hoping to have a couple of blog posts in the pipe by now, but things kept getting in the way. Subsequently, I’m doing a catch-all post this week. I’ll try to do better, but I’ve got some healing to do first.

We missed our second Saturday outing with Lowcountry Unfiltered, and last weekend I was battling a nasty head cold. That was one blog post down. We did have a good day on Sunday. There was an excellent party with neighbors and friends from Furman. Had a great time catching up with both groups. That evening I attended a benefit for my friend Russ Morin, who is batting cancer. Gene Berger from Horizon Records put on an excellent gathering at The Bohemian. I was able to catch up with a long-lost cousin, and saw even more friends from Furman.

Russ Morin Benefit-002
Jim and Fitz Continue reading “Snowpocalypse 2014”

Picker’s Paradise in Newberry

As See on American Pickers

Two times in less than a week I’ve been drawn in by an “as seen on TV” sign. First time was a rather bad experience at a restaurant in Gaffney. This time, C. T. Summer Hardware Store in Newberry turned out to be a real winner.

It was my sister, Beth’s birthday, so Glynda and I drove down to take her out to eat. We had dropped by Prosperity to pick up our mother, and then drove back to meet Beth at The Cabana Cafe. We had a great lunch (sorry, no cafe review this time) and were surprised by Beth’s son, Mason, who had come in for lunch during his work day.

Glynda and Beth
Mason and Beth

During lunch Beth mentioned that we needed to check out the hardware store next door. I had spotted antiques in the window, and had seen the “American Pickers” sign on the front window. Having been burned once recently by a TV show advertisement, I was skeptical. Glynda and I said we would be back on a less cold and rainy day. Mother, on the other hand, said she wanted to go right after lunch. Looks like we were visiting a hardware store. Continue reading “Picker’s Paradise in Newberry”

Time Lapse with Raspberry Pi

Take a look at the video below:

Now look at this one:

Both of these time-lapse sequences are by UK photographer Neil Bromhall. These types of time-lapse photos take a huge time commitment – weeks and months. This one, from Norway, took a full year.

In order to get the correct effect, the camera must remain in place throughout the video. Unless you’ve developed some miraculous method for placing the camera in the exact same spot each time with the exact same zoom and focus, the image will jump around and not look right. That means that you’re going to have leave your camera there, probably outside, exposed to weather, and not very secure. Continue reading “Time Lapse with Raspberry Pi”

Cat Trio – A PicoBoard Theremin with Scratch

Cat Trio

OK, I’m sure that’s the most confusing post title of all time. I’m sure it will make sense by the end of this post.

This is a Theremin…

Moog Theremin
Moog Etherwave Theremin

…and I want one. Unfortunately, Santa (aka, Laura) didn’t agree. Something about it being too expensive and weird-sounding. 🙂 Oh well. So, I decided to look into options for building one. I had been playing with the PicoBoard and MaKey MaKey, and thought those would provide excellent options.

It seems that everyone wants to make banana pianos with the MaKey Makey. Since a MaKey Makey imitates a keyboard, it’s great for discreet keys and tones. However, a Theremin operates on a continuum, sort of like a violin or trombone. Therefore something else was needed. That’s where the PicoBoard comes in, with its ability to return values along a continuum based on its sensors. Continue reading “Cat Trio – A PicoBoard Theremin with Scratch”

A Cold Cherokee Ramble – Part 3

Gaffney Uptown
Gaffney Uptown

So far the day’s photo trek across Cherokee County had been a mixed bag. We had found an old concrete airway beacon near Reidville, which was cool. We found a cool old chapel near Pacolet. But we had encountered No Trespassing signs just about everywhere else we tried to go in Cherokee County, and had a sub-mediocre lunch at an over-hyped joint in Gaffney. It was time to see if things would turn around.

On the way into town Tommy Thompson and I had noted the location of the Cherokee County Historical Society. After lunch I wanted to stop by to see if we could get any information on the Cooperville location, so we headed back that way. The entrance wasn’t readily apparent, but we think we found the right location and pulled in. More discouragement. First, there was a sign saying there was a $5 charge to enter, then…the door was locked. We’d had enough frustrations for one day, so we left. Continue reading “A Cold Cherokee Ramble – Part 3”

Lunch at Harold’s of Gaffney


Tommy Thompson and I had been out on a photo trek across Cherokee County. We had reached the town of Gaffney and we were ready for lunch. We were looking for something quirky and local – not the chain places located out near the interstate. Gaffney is a college town, so I was hoping for something like what we found in Athens. However, Limestone College is no UGA, so pickin’s were slim. When we saw the sign on Harold’s Restaurant saying “Featured on the Food Network” we decided we had to check it out.


Harold Tindall opened the restaurant in 1932 with a unique recipe for a chili burger. The place gained a local following, and sometime in the last couple of decades (time unknown) Tony and Holly Lipscombe purchased the restaurant. They retained all of the original recipes, and pretty much all of the same furnishings and decor.


It’s a dive. Period. One walks into a narrow space lined with booths on one side and a lunch counter on the other. First up is a massive menu board with instructions to order at the counter. Several other diners were seated either in booths or at the bar. The place is decked out in yellow for Gaffney’s high school football team.

Untitled Continue reading “Lunch at Harold’s of Gaffney”

A Cold Cherokee County Ramble – Part 1

Mulberry Chapel-002
Mulberry Chapel
Asbury Community, Cherokee County

Tommy Thompson and I had set out on a cold Thursday morning with snow still on the ground in order to find concrete airway beacons. That took all of about 20 minutes, and we still had the rest of the day ahead of us. I had several beacon locations marked in my GPS, but they didn’t look promising. Instead, we decided to head out to several spots in Cherokee County.

On my last ramble out this way I found I had missed an opportunity. I was just a half-mile from Mulberry Chapel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. I decided that would be our first target for the morning. First, though, we had to cross Spartanburg County, and there were a couple of interesting spots along the way.

First up, we stopped briefly at Anderson Mill on the Tyger River. The remnants of snow and morning light made for some nice photography.

Anderson Mill
Anderson Mill-002 Continue reading “A Cold Cherokee County Ramble – Part 1”