Tag Archives: 2017

Bagpipes, Castles, Whisky and Lochs (Oh, My!)

Royal Cottage on the shore of Loch Katrine from aboard the steamship Sir Walter Scott

Here is a short summary of our recent Scotland adventure for anyone who may be interested in a synopsis of our trip.

Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland

We flew to Edinburgh from Charlotte via Heathrow, then spent 4 nights in Edinburgh, exploring the city and attending the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  The Tattoo was the main reason we went to Scotland in the first place, and it completely lived up to our expectations.  During the time we were in Edinburgh, the International Festival and the Fringe Festival were taking place, which made for a lot of crowds, but some interesting sights and sounds.  We did our best to participate!  Besides spending lots of time walking around, we did a bus tour of the city, toured the Royal Yacht Britannia and Edinburgh Castle, ate (and drank) in a number of pubs and restaurants, and generally absorbed the atmosphere of the place.  It was quite the spectacle!

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle

After our 4 nights in Edinburgh, we rented a car (yes, I drove!) and set off into the countryside in search of sights and experiences.  We stayed at inns in Pitlochry, Inverness, Portree and Luss.  We visited The Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies, toured 4 distilleries and a cooperage, drank some whisky, drank some beer, toured castles, drove some narrow single-track roads and saw some incredible scenery.  A lot of the scenery was in places where it wasn’t safe to stop the car, so I had to make do with making the best photos I could where I was able to stop!  We took boat cruises on Loch Ness, Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine and visited a couple of lighthouses.  Once it was all done we were back in Edinburgh for one last night before returning to Charlotte via New York JFK.  Flights were all on time, the trip was comfortable and the airline food was surprisingly good.  I must say that 8 hours is a long time to be on an airplane!

The Tarbat Ness Lighthouse on the Dornock Firth near Wilkhaven, Scotland

I’ll continue to post photos and narratives to detail some of the individual highlights of our trip.  Overall it was an incredible vacation, but it was also a lot of work for both of us. Our next vacation, someone else may need to do the driving and navigating!

Our visit to the Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain, Scotland
Scene from around Edinburgh

Folkmoot Parade of Nations

Argentina delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC

Here is a sampling of my photos from the 2017 Folkmoot Festival Parade of Nations in Waynesville, NC.  My success rate was compromised a bit by a less than ideal location (about 20 yards from the main performance area) and less-than-ideal lighting conditions, but I managed to get a few photos that tell the story.  After seeing the parade for the first time, I’m now determined to go back and capture the festivities from before the parade to after.  I think it might make a good project and would be good practice at telling a story.

Argentina delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Argentina delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Holland delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Holland delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Slovenia delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Canada/Wales delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Taiwan delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Cherokee Indian delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Cherokee Indian delegation at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC
Spectators at the 2017 Folkmoot USA International Festival Parade in downtown Waynesville, NC

A Little International Flavor

Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC

An annual event in Waynesville, NC is the Folkmoot Festival that takes place at the end of July.  We typically get to Waynesville during the month of July, but for all our trips there we had never made it to the Folkmoot Festival or anything that had to do with it.  This year, while planning our July visit I happened to notice that some of the performers would be participating in the annual Street Dance in downtown on Friday night, and that the Parade of Nations on Saturday would be right down Main Street  That was too easy to pass up, so we went.

Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC

At Friday’s Street Dance, the Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia (Siberia) were featured.  They put on a great show with several groups of performers.  These photos are from that performance.  I also got some photos from the parade the following day, but those will need to wait for another post!

Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC

A Folder Full of Phone Photos

Aboard the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke, North Carolina

Got a bit behind (again) but catching up.

Kathy & I spent some time at the NC coast in early July, visiting Belhaven, Washington and Ocracoke.  While I took my camera with me, it seemed like whenever I saw something interesting all I had with me was my phone.  Out of a total of 93 photos, 77 were taken with my phone and only 16 with my camera.  These are all from my phone.

Aboard the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke, North Carolina
Aboard the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke, North Carolina
Aboard the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke, North Carolina
Coiled rope on the dock in Washington, North Carolina
New wood on the dock in Washington, North Carolina
Shadows along Water Street in Belhaven, North Carolina
Shadows along Water Street in Belhaven, North Carolina

A Visit to Jamaica – Ya, Mon!

Sunset at the Sunset Gazebo. Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

I haven’t been terribly motivated to process photos lately but forced myself to get a few done for this post.  It’s a tough job and no one is going to do it but me! 🙂

Open air bar at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Kathy & I spent the Memorial Day weekend at Half Moon, a resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Quiet and laid back, Half Moon was just the answer to a hectic spring and early summer.  I went with  only my lowly Olympus point & shoot, but still managed to come home with a few photos.

Not a bad view to wake up to. View from our villa at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
You almost don’t need coffee in the morning with a view like this! View from our villa at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Shadows on the patio of our villa at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Front of our relatively modest villa (compared to some!). Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Low Beam – as in Watch Your Head! Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Path to the beach and villas. Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Not our villa, but typical of many of the residences at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Not our villa, but typical of many of the residences at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Quitting LinkedIn

“If a LinkedIn account gets deleted in the forest and no one is around to see it, does anyone really care?”  with apologies to George Berkeley

Shore excursion to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

I recently decided to close out my LinkedIn account.  Like I suspect a lot of folks did, I started on LinkedIn because it was supposed to be a professional networking site.  While it certainly has its devotees and I’m certain that for many people it is a critical part of their business day, I just never found it to be all that useful.  I was getting connection requests from people I don’t know who were just trying to sell me stuff, recommendations from people for skills that I probably have but don’t really care about promoting, and even after shutting off all the notifications, it was just something else I had to do.  And now, since I tend to be trying to minimize my distractions and obligations, it just seemed to be time.  I had planned to close it before the recent change in their terms of service and had already deleted most of my connections, but that email was the catalyst I needed to shut it down.

Light fixtures aboard Norwegian Epic

So I’m still on Facebook, although I rarely look at it and don’t share anything other than my blog posts.  I’m on Instagram but don’t post much and don’t have many followers or follow many people (by design).  I have a Twitter account but have never tweeted, although I think I might have liked or shared a thing or two.  Most importantly, the people who need to reach me know how. and those who matter the most to me are probably reading this blog.  Maybe all the way to the end! 😉

Norwegian Epic in Tortola, BVI

Printer Update

Waynesville, North Carolina

In my Computer Update post I noted that the one remaining item (and unexpected expense) from my recent computer conversion was the decision to replace my aging printer.  This past weekend I received and set up my new printer – a Canon Pixma Pro 100.  It has a lot going for it – most notably the price.  With a $200 rebate the net cost to me was under $200, and it came with $50 worth of free paper.  And I sold my old iMac to Gazelle for $150, so the out of pocket cost is practically $0!  Of course I immediately reinvested some of that savings in a second set of ink, but at $125 for the new printer instead of $900 for ink for my old printer, it was an expense that is far more easily digested.

Waynesville, North Carolina

Some would say that it was foolish to get rid of a functioning printer just because I didn’t want to spend the money on consumables.  In some respects those comments would be correct, and that was something I seriously considered in weighing my decision.  The cost of said consumables was substantial, especially for a printer that got only occasional use.  Every time I turned that thing on, it had to go through a long startup and cleaning cycle, and it felt like I was replacing an ink cartridge (at $75 each!) every time.  Certainly the cost of ink is less per drop (or milliliter or however one chooses to measure ink cost) for a larger printer than a small printer.  And the cost of roll paper is less than the cost of sheets.  Regardless of those factors, it was hard to ignore the low initial and operating costs of the smaller printer.  That, combined with a smaller footprint in my office, the promise of improved technology and a newer generation ink set made it a no-brainer.

Waynesville, North Carolina
Waynesville, North Carolina

The negatives are few, but include the fact that this printer uses die inks instead of pigment inks.  Die inks are traditionally thought of as being less archival than pigment inks – they might only last 100 years…gasp!  But pigment inks are generally thought of as being more prone to clogging than die inks, and for a printer that doesn’t see daily use, that was somewhat important to me.  Importantly, color accuracy is similar between the two ink types as long as they are set up properly, and I think I’ve just about got that nailed.

Waynesville, North Carolina

The ability to use the Soft Proof function in Lightroom has been a welcome addition and has been leading to more accurate results without wasting a lot of paper.  Since I wasn’t able to print from my computer when it was impersonating a Mac I never had a chance to use Soft Proofing.  But now that I can use it from Windows, that improvement alone was worth the cost and effort of the change.

Waynesville, North Carolina

The fact of the matter is that my needs have changed since I bought the large printer.  I rarely need to print anything larger than 13×19, and more often than not I would need to print larger than the old printer could print and would have to send the file to an outside print lab anyway.  I have a couple of excellent choices for outside printing, so as long as I know I have an accurate file I have no problem sending the file to someone else to print.  The smaller printer gives me a “good enough” proof for those purposes.  For my own use, I have a lot less wall space now than I used to have, so I don’t do as much printing for my own use.  Most of what I print for myself is for décor purposes, and printed on wood, canvas or metal.  So I’m sending that work out anyway.

Waynesville, North Carolina

Probably the biggest challenge was figuring out how to get rid of the old printer.  No one wanted it, for the same reasons I didn’t want it.  I could take it to the county recycling center, but it weighed 120 pounds and wasn’t something that Kathy & I were going to move ourselves.  I could have asked the kids to help me but decided against it.  As it turns out I called one of the “Junk Hauling” companies, and two guys and a truck came on Saturday morning and hauled it away for under $100.  It probably made our neighbors curious but was well worth the cost.  Done and gone!

Waynesville, North Carolina

So there you have it.  I think the transition can be called a success, and I am still way ahead of that $3,000 bill that I would have had with a new Mac.  And I didn’t have to buy all those dongles!

Full Pond

Lake Lure, North Carolina

Kathy & I had occasion to pass through Lake Lure, NC this past weekend.  I was interested to see that the lake levels and the supply of resident boats have returned.  Some may recall an earlier post in January where the lake levels were lower for the winter. It looks like things are ready for spring at Lake Lure!

Lake Lure, North Carolina
Lake Lure, North Carolina