Friday, April 27, 2018

UFO in the Harbor

Unidentifid  FLOATING object, that is.
On our way home from the gym this morning we noticed something reflecting the sun, shiny aluminum and out of ordinary, in the harbor.  It turned out to be the largest and newest research vessel belonging to Coastal Carolina University.  Behind it are two smaller research vessels belonging to Coastal Carolina that remain docked in Georgetown all the time.  

The 54-foot aluminum research vessel is "equipped with state-of-the-art sea floor mapping/geophysical survey systems, six research workstations, a hydraulic A-frame (3-ton lift capacity) and dive platform."  It can hold 22 passengers and has a cruising range of 500 miles.
It was purchased for use by graduate and doctoral students in CCU's marine science program for research in monitoring hurricane prediction systems offshore and for study of environmental factors that affect the ocean.  A sonar is mounted on the front that can rotate down below the catamaran hull and align with GPS receivers and motion sensors to make a geophysical map of the sea.  Students have assisted the US Geological Survey in mapping the ocean floor out to a distance of over five miles from the coast of South Carolina.  

A winch over the rear of the boat has an 8,000-pound lift capacity for deploying heavy research equipment.  It is used to deploy the new sensor buoys used in CCU’s new hurricane model to forecast severe weather conditions.

So many opportunities for college students today.  When I contemplated my education after high school, I knew of  three courses of study to choose from: nurse, teacher, or secretary.  I enjoyed teaching, but with all the career choices available to young people today, I like to muse upon which one I might have chosen had it been possible 50 years ago.  

Any idea what you might have chosen

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Kinetic Art

"Octo 2"

This is the Greenville sculpture I promised to show you, an 18-foot stainless steel kinetic piece powered by the wind.  It's taken me a week to  get it up here because it was a challenge to figure out how to put a video of my own up on my blog.
If you think you might have seen a similar one somewhere, it could be the one behind the Olympic cauldron in Rio de Janeiro last year.  That was done by the same sculptor, Anthony Howe.  
His work is mesmerizing.  I could sit forever watching Octo 2's graceful flow from pattern to pattern, like a giant stainless steel kaleidoscope on a stick.  

🦀 🦂 🦀 🦂 🦀 
Meanwhile, back home in Georgetown it's "that time of year again" when restaurants on the coast are apparently taking employment applications from crustaceans  ...

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Beautiful City Restored

No tourists visited Greenville, a small old southern city in western South Carolina, a generation ago.  It was a nasty place with derelict buildings, homeless unfortunates, trash and debris.  The heart of downtown, the Reedy River, was full of filth and its banks a convenient dumping ground for old equipment and vehicles. 

This is the centerpiece of downtown now, the same riverbank once lined with abandoned cars and polluted with industrial waste now a gorgeous park.  It runs the whole length of downtown as it meanders and tumbles through.

The father of a friend of ours, Max Heller, was the mayor who began the cleanup, lured people and big-name hotels back into the city, and transformed it into a lovely, lively place. 

We were nearby at a 90th birthday party and decided to stay a couple extra days and have a spring break.  We had so much fun!  
We parked our car at one end of the park and at the head of the trail was a Chihuly piece to welcome us.  I was so excited as I have admired other bloggers' posts on complete exhibits of his works, but this was the first piece I had seen in person.  Not my favorite Chihuly, but interesting.

From the car park, we walked a quarter of a mile down a hill, toward the bottom of the ravine.  

The graceful curve of the pedestrian bridge over the park mimics the curves of the river as it tumbles over the falls into pools where children wade and play.  It's hard to believe that above you is a city full of bumper-to-bumper traffic, rushing business people in suits and ties, construction projects ....

Above the natural falls and the dams that powered the city's industries, including  textile mills, is a second, more traditional pedestrian bridge.  This bridge leads to the bones of the original Dukes Mayonnaise factory, now converted to a performance venue with indoor and outdoor stages.  

Art galleries and sculptures are all along the river walk, and stairs lead up to the city above where the new architecture harmonizes with the old.

We enjoyed music in several of the little parks on Main Street, fancy coffees on the street, crepes for our Easter dinner, appetizers and drinks outdoors at the Hyatt Hotel.  My favorite things were how lively a city Greenville is with people everywhere day and night, and all the art everywhere you look.  I'll show you my favorite piece of all next time!  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Bringing Home the Bacon from the Country Store

When Hwy. 521 was built in 1937 between Georgetown and Manning, the Burrows family built a service station with a store and above it on the second floor, their family home.  In the style of all Southern service stations of the times, it was the forerunner of the modern convenience store -- one-stop shopping for customers and convenience for commuting to work for the family living above.  

The Country Store, still in the middle of nowhere, is the place to buy The Best bacon.  For $4 a pound you get a chat with the meat cutter, bacon that is smoked on the premises,all the smoky bacon smell you can inhale, and a trip down memory lane.

The gentleman on the left is always behind the meat counter.  

People come from far and wide to get real country hams. They are aged and hanging inside a wired room to keep away the flies.  Any other pig parts you want? On this day, heads were available.

A true general store still, you can get just about anything you need, from flour to shirts and hats, from boat parts to nails (in a bin, by the pound), from candy to beer.

Another neat thing about the Country Store is, if you are a family who has shopped there for generations (most are black and poor) the lady at the old wooden counter just gets out her old-fashioned lined-paper tablet, writes down your purchase, and you can pay when you can. Not many of those places left in the world!