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Ameliacon 2016, Fernandina Beach: 7 February 2016   no comments

Posted at 1:02 am in closing

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If this picture strikes you as hilarious, you would have been at the right place. If it doesn't mean anything to you, probably not:

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Written by ted on February 9th, 2016

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Holey Moley!   no comments

Posted at 3:43 am in commentary

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Now *that's* a Star Wars movie!

Brookgreen Gardens Nights of 1000 Candles 2015, Brookgreen Gardens: 4 December 2015   no comments

Posted at 12:49 am in closing

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4 December this year was one of the warmer iterations of Brookgreen Gardens Nights of 1000 Candles, and by that, I mean that I could feel the buttons on my camera without my hands going numb.

As usual, the Gardens were beautifully lit, and there were entertainment tents with jazz, vocal ensembles and rock sounds of the season and wandering bagpipers. My impression is that they are getting a little bolder in color choices for the lights though of course the hundreds of candles, floading candles and luminaries remain.

The festival runs for two more weekends, on 10-12 December and 17-20 December and if you have a chance, I highly reccommend you go.

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Forest Acres / Dentsville: 11 October 2015   1 comment

Posted at 2:07 am in closing

Hopefully I can add some commentary tomorrow, but for now I just want to get these pictures out there.

UPDATE 16 October 2015: Ok, I was under the weather for a few days, but let me add a little text here now.

First, I am happy to say that even as these pictures were taken, on Sunday 11 October 2015, recovery work was in full stride. All the flooded and gutted buildings on Forest Drive had evidence that of ongoing work and cleanup, and I noticed today (15 October 2015) that the Garden Center in Forest Lake Shopping Center was once again stocked and open for business.

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Charlotte Heroes Convention 2015, Charlotte Convention Center: 20 June 2015   1 comment

Posted at 12:57 am in closing

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Coming off of I-77 and heading downtown on Saturday gave a really stunning view of Charlotte's downtown. The sky was dotted with puffy clouds and the skyscrapers were laid out almost artistically. I really wish I could have pulled over and gotten a shot.

I was headed to the Convention Center for this years iteration of Charlotte's Heroes Convention which I have been checking out out over the years as often as I could since the days when it was a few meeting rooms at the old Holiday Inn on Woodlawn.

This year, I didn't attend any of the panels as it took all of my time just to completely canvas the main show floor. My impression is that Guardians Of The Galaxy is a new hit with costumers, though there was no single theme for the majority of costumes. I think I did notice a bit of fall-off in the Frozen costumes since Amelia Con. Stan Lee was there for photo-shoots, but the line was so long that I didn't attempt to see him. There were plenty of other creators there as well, and I bought a number of indie books for myself and my nieces, more than I've scanned below.

Anyway, it's not a bad drive (I-77 seemed a little less pot-holed this time) and there's a reasonable nearby lot, so if you get the chance next year, I recommend you check it out.

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Written by ted on June 22nd, 2015

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Fleetwood Mac, Time Warner Cable Arena Charlotte NC: 7 March 2015   1 comment

Posted at 1:18 am in closing

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Falling, falling, falling..

It may seem strange to the under 50 crowd at this remove, but it's pretty much impossible to overstate what an incredible influence Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album had when I was in the last years of high school. Almost every track was on the radio at one time or another, and everybody had a copy. I would have had one, but I was dead broke at the time, so I somehow convinced my sister to spring for it. I taped her copy to cassette and it was in constant rotation with my Beach Boys albums in my jury rigged car player (which would reverse the tape and start playing the other "side" every time we hit a bump).

Rumours was the followup to the also very successful eponymous album Fleetwood Mac which established the band's "classic lineup". It was also the lead-in to the rather experimental Tusk which no doubt confused their legions of fans.

Over the years the band went through a lot of acrimony and romantic imbroglioes, with the fact that it was coed giving even more scope for feuding than even the Beach Boys "enjoyed".

Still, after all the dust settled, and after a sixteen year absence for Christine McVie, the classic lineup is back together and making music again.

I took the opportunity to see them in Charlotte, and everybody was in fine form, and looking and sounding pretty good for a bunch of 60 and 70 year olds. They played everything you would expect, and added a few new songs that, if not instant classics, were pretty good. As you can tell from the video and pix, I was *way* up in the nosebleed section, something I did not appreciate in the least while inching towards my seat like an action movie hero sidling along a window ledge over a twenty story drop. It was somewhat better once I actually had a seat, though as you can hear in the video, I fell in with a bunch of Chatty Cathys..

Anyway, it was a great show, and you should definitely catch them if you can.

As just a few random observations: It's amazing how bad a shape I-77 is in. It seemed like I was dodging huge ruts all the way to Charlotte. I don't remember that from my last trip in June, but it can't have gotten that bad that quick. Also, the parking garage at EpiCenter is the worst I've ever been in, like the old text based computer game "You are in a maze of twisty little passage all alike": It was amazingly hard to find the level changes rather than just driving by the same packed spaces again and again. Maybe I was "Over My Head"...

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Written by ted on March 9th, 2015

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Brookgreen Gardens Nights Of A Thousand Candles, Brookgreen Gardens: 13 December 2014   no comments

Posted at 2:19 am in closing

I got to Brookgreen a bit later than I had planned this year, and so did not hit all the spots I usually hit, but it was still a very nice evening out in the cold and lights. Actually, the weather was relatively moderate compared to some prior years -- I was able to hold my camera and adjust the controls without my fingers going numb. There is still an official ban on tripods, and I decided this year I wouldn't go for much in the way of "set the camera on something and do a time exposure" shots, so I cranked the ISO way up and took what I got, so I have to admit I've gotten better shots in previous years. I did play around with the in-camera HDR setting, and that's where some of the freaky green-lit exposures come from. Sometimes it did quite a good job of capturing both the lights and normal objects, and sometimes it didn't (I haven't used those spoiled shots here, obviously).

Getting in was a little quicker this year as they did not bring back the suboptimal secondary dirt road route they tried last year, although there was still quite a jam on US-17 (where I witnessed a fender-bender just as I finally got waved through). You still have three more chances to catch the lights this year on 18 December, 19 December and 20 December, and you really should if you are anywhere near the area.

Brookgreen Gardens Nights Of A Thousand Candles 2014, Brookgreen Gardens: 13 December 2014   no comments

Posted at 2:19 am in Uncategorized

I got to Brookgreen a bit later than I had planned this year, and so did not hit all the spots I usually hit, but it was still a very nice evening out in the cold and lights. Actually, the weather was relatively moderate compared to some prior years -- I was able to hold my camera and adjust the controls without my fingers going numb. There is still an official ban on tripods, and I decided this year I wouldn't go for much in the way of "set the camera on something and do a time exposure" shots, so I cranked the ISO way up and took what I got, so I have to admit I've gotten better shots in previous years. I did play around with the in-camera HDR setting, and that's where some of the freaky green-lit exposures come from. Sometimes it did quite a good job of capturing both the lights and normal objects, and sometimes it didn't (I haven't used those spoiled shots here, obviously).

Getting in was a little quicker this year as they did not bring back the suboptimal secondary dirt road route they tried last year, although there was still quite a jam on US-17 (where I witnessed a fender-bender just as I finally got waved through). You still have three more chances to catch the lights this year on 18 December, 19 December and 20 December, and you really should if you are anywhere near the area.

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Carolina Renaissance Festival 2014, Huntersville NC   no comments

Posted at 12:14 am in Uncategorized

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Celtic band Cu Dubh.

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So, I thought at first I had made a big mistake heading up to the Carolina Renaissance Festival last weekend. It was a cold and rainy Halloween when I hit the road, and I awoke Saturday to find out that Snowpocalypse had hit the Midlands while I was gone and that it was cold, rainy, wet and miserable in Huntersville.

Fortunately, although I had to use the wipers driving out to the festival grounds, but the time I got there, it had stopped raining and was just cold and miserable. Obviously the crowds were thin, but the performers gave it a good go and the sun finally did peek out during the late afternoon giving them (and me) some relief. Sunday, however was gorgeous, and all these pictures date from then.

It seemed to me that a good portion of the performers were back from last year, but there were some new faces as well. As before, everybody had a very polished and entertaining line of patter and were quick to improv as circumstances demanded. There are plenty of kid centric and family friendly shows as well as more ribald "loose cannon" performances for those of us a bit longer in the tooth.

The festival continues on weekends through 23 November and it's a great way to spend a (hopefully sunny!) Fall afternoon.

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South Carolina State Fair 2014, Fairgrounds: 19 October 2014   3 comments

Posted at 12:25 am in Uncategorized

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Well, what do you want me to say? It was the State Fair, and if you've followed these posts for a while, you know the kind of thing I like to take pictures of at the fair, so there won't be any surprises here.

Some changes that started last year seem to have stuck. In particular, the sand sculpture is still in the Ruff Building rather than the Ellison Building and the gray market videos and TELEVAC 8600 are still gone:

The pictures are from 12 October, which was an overcast day, though the temperature was nice. As the evening wore on, it started to spit rain a bit, and in fact more than a bit at times. That affected the skyride video this year. I was afraid it would really start coming down, so I took the video going west to east, rather than hoofing it back to the east and going the other way. That means that we're travelling away from the most visually interesting parts. I think the rain was also futzing with the autofocus of the camera a bit from time to time.

Many more pictures after the break.

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Written by ted on October 20th, 2014

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