Miscellaneous

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9 Bits of Advice for the Casual Adventurer

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http://adventurearchives.blogspot.com/

“What’s in Your Haversack?” from the Adventure Archives Blog.

Over the past year I’ve joined several Facebook groups focusing on local history. I’m most active on the “Abandoned, Old, and Interesting Places in South Carolina” group, but there are similar groups for North Carolina, Georgia, and the south in general. I’ve seen some fantastic photography and learned about some new locations to explore from participation in these groups. However, to be honest, I was starting to suffer from a bit of “decay fatigue.” I was starting to see the same photos of old falling down farm houses and barns over and over, often with no explanation as to their history or significance.

Those minor sins aside, what most of the participants share is a sense of adventure. I decided to put together my own thoughts on advice for casual adventurers. (more…)

New Year’s Sunrise on Sassafras Mountain

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Sassafras Sunrise on New Years Day-37

I’ve already commented several times that 2014 was a weird year, and one I’m kind of glad to see in the rear view mirror. New Year’s Eve was equally weird. It was the first time in our marriage that Laura and I weren’t together to see in the new year – she’s still in Florida helping with her mom. It was also the first year in memory that I didn’t make it until midnight. (more…)

Christmas Wrap-Up 2014

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Santa Ornament

2014 has not been an easy year. We lost my mom, and Laura’s mother has had serious health issues. I’m still trying to adjust to retirement, and Laura is trying to adjust to new work challenges. Even so, we were able keep some of our holiday traditions, and it was a good thing.

A Wright Family Christmas

I’ve already written about the difficulties with our time in Florida. I had begun my time down there with the Solstice Paddle, but there were multiple other kayaking trips. Usually I managed to get out on the water at about 9:00 am. At this time, the incoming tide was ripping from south to north, with an accompanying wind. My usual route was to paddle against the current, then come back with the wind and tide.

Indian River Paddling-5 (more…)

The New Modern Prophets

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TL;DR jump to audio file. Also, see the note at the end for disclaimer regarding names mentioned in this post.

Flashback – Summer, 1981

I was in-between semesters at Furman and was trying to earn a bit of cash for school by working maintenance for Laurens School District 55. This particular summer I was painting Sanders Middle School with an older guy (and by older, I mean probably in his mid-30s) whose first name I could only remember – Willie. Willie was a hard worker, and taught me lots about commercial painting, most of which I’ve long since forgotten. I liked Willie, and enjoyed my work with him that summer.

Willie was a devout Christian, and enjoyed listening to a local Black Gospel station on AM radio. I got into it, too, listening jealously to some of the piano chops these guys had. However, the one thing that made my day were the advertisements for Reverend Yuri. At precisely 11:25 am and 2:25 pm these would air.

Reverend Yuri was a spiritual advisor and reader located on Cedar Lane in Greenville. To this day I can point out his former establishment, which still looks rather weird. (I only know it was the place because there was a large billboard proclaiming it as Yuri’s, and not from any actual visits to the establishment.) His advertisements featured him using the vernacular, and started like this…

Is you tired? Is you lonely? Has your friends let you down? Reverend Yuri can help…

In the following years I’d tune in every now and then to listen to the ads, simply because I loved the use of the lilting vernacular. A couple of years later Reverend Yuri was replaced by “Sister Yuri.” I don’t know what happened. Sex change? Had I misunderstood the gender from the get-go, and the voice I was appreciating was that of the announcer? Who knows? Eventually Yuri closed shop and the ads ended. (more…)

Classical Revival Schools

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Gray Court-Owings School

Gray Court-Owings School
Photo by Panoramio User Bearden82

The photo above is of Gray Court-Owings School. In the 1970s my father was principal of the school. I attended there as a student from second through eighth grade. In the 1980s I got my first teaching job there, teaching music and a gifted and talented program, as well as getting the school started on its nascent technology program. From my classroom where I was teaching I could see the house I grew up in, which was the house I was living in at the time. Needless-to-say, the school and I go back a LONG way.

One of the things I liked best about this old school was the architecture. The school sits high on a hill, and the imposing entrance calls out for attention. As I was reviewing the State Archives School Insurance Photos I saw that lots of other schools from around the state have similar features. (more…)

I Am Fat

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WARNING – weight-related, fitness rant ahead. I promise not do do this often.

There. I said it. I’m fat.

That’s a hard reality to admit out loud. I’ve always hedged a bit by admitting that I’m a bit overweight, but it’s time to face hard facts. I’ve got to lose fifty pounds to get back down to a comfortable weight, and even then I’ll STILL be on the heavy side.

Here’s a comparison. The photo below shows two images of me and Laura. The one on the left was taken in the mid-1990’s. The one on the right was taken this past December.

TomLauraCombined

So, you see, I wasn’t always this way. I know people gain weight as they age, but this is not good.

For most of my early life I was so skinny that people got worried. This photo from the early 1980’s shows how skinny I really was. (more…)

Sprucing up the Joint

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Every now and then you need to toss a new coat of paint on the place.  It’s no different with blogs.  They can get stale after awhile and need a bit of updating.  I figured that a ten-year anniversary was as good a time as any to change things up here.

I’ve switched over to the Meadow Hill template for WordPress by Tomas Toman.  It’s a flexible format that looks great whether your accessing the site from a desktop or mobile device.  I’ve also added a whole bunch of background header images that rotate randomly upon reload.

The side widgets are still there, but don’t appear until you click on one of the “Read More” buttons to view the entire article.  Then you’ll see the “Recent Visitors”, “Recent Tweets”, the search box, and any other goodies.

I had a couple of requirements for the new appearance.  First, the fonts needed to be more adjustable and have a bit more space than my old theme.  The site was hard to read.  I probably could have gone into the CSS for the site and changed it myself, but why bother.  This one has about the same size font, but is double-spaced for easier reading.  I may bump up the font size at some time.

Secondly, the site needed to be able to display lead images without those hateful “Featured Images” that WordPress uses.  The latest version of WordPress did allow designation of a featured image by URL, but to get it to work with Flickr required too many hoops.

So, this is what we have now.  I think I’ll live with it for awhile and see if I like it.  If you follow the site via RSS feed or some other reader you probably won’t see any difference.  However, if you actually visit the site you’ll spot the new look right away.

The Phantom of Genevieve’s

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Phantom of the Opera Program

Photo by Carin Perretta

Continuing the impossibly busy weekend…

Today we had friends drop by for a visit. We were happy to have Steve and Linda Serkiz come by for coffee. I hadn’t seen them in years. I was at Furman with both of them, and Steve was in one of Laura’s first classes that she taught there. Steve is now down at the Savannah River Site as a research scientist, doing some very cool things with carbon nano tubes and other nano technology. I may have to wrangle a visit so that I can get a closer look at Ellenton and some of the other SRS ghost town sites.

In the evening I was supposed to be two places at once. I was SUPPOSED to be singing the National Anthem at the Greenville Drive game with the Greenville Chorale. However, the opportunity to attend Phantom of the Opera at the Peace Center came up, and we opted for that instead. (more…)

Great Scots Parade in a Mini Convertible

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Great Scot Parade Minis-008

Great Scot! Parade in front of the Westin Poinsett Hotel

This Memorial Day weekend actually started Thursday morning, and it’s just barely getting started. So far I’ve been kayaking, gone to a midnight movie to see X-Men: Days of Future Past, attended a history lecture on old maps, looked for mythical meteors, visited an Irish pub, and had coffee and a great visit with old friends – and it’s only Saturday. The highlight so far, though, has been our participation in the Great Scot! Parade through downtown Greenville with the Upstate Minis.

A couple of weeks ago Jeff Goodman had posted on the Upstate Minis Facebook page about the group participating in the parade. I asked Laura if she were interested, and she jumped at the chance. So, Friday afternoon a little after 5:00 we lined up with ten other Minis on Townes Street. We would bring up the rear of the parade.

Great Scot Parade Minis-6 (more…)

Momentous Weekend

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20140510_223032

As a follow-up to my “too busy to post” post, thought I’d explain some of the goings on that I couldn’t discuss prior to the events. In that previous post I mentioned that Furman Commencement and the Greenville Chorale Concert were scheduled for the same time. What I didn’t mention was that I was supposed to be at both of those events.

Here’s the deal – Laura won the Meritorious Advising Award for Furman University this year. The award recognizes professors and administrators that have worked with students in planning their coursework throughout the year. In 2009 Laura had won the Meritorious Teaching Award. Now she has received both of Furman’s top honors. (more…)

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