Southern Hospitality

There are so many reasons to love Greenville.

  • The culture
  • The food
  • The Scenery
  • The People

Even though "no one is from Greenville", people you run into whether indigenous Southerners or transplants, exude Southern Hospitality

Reading about the topic is very interesting. Whether the concept is rooted in deep religious tradition or guilt over slavery, its still wonderful to behold. I remember our first house hunting trip here. 

We got lost leaving the unusual bed and breakfast we stayed in.

We stopped at a gas station to validate the stupidity of the woman living inside our GPS unit. In 2 minutes, 3 groups of people were nearly fighting over being the one to help us find our way. Truly incredulous.

Some of the local linguistics reinforce this hospitality. When accepting an apology its not "no problem" (double negative) but "you're fine!" Thats the way we feel living in the Upstate!

Within the framework of Southen Hospitality and the language of the south are some other interesting phrases with double entendre such as one of the classics, "bless her heart." While on the surface a simple blessing, it can have very different meanings (so I am told). Learning which meaning is intended is something I only now begin to figure out.

All of these new phrases and meanings noth withstanding, the people (lifelong residents and transplants alike) are genuine caring folk. I am continuous lyreminded of the stark paradox between demeanor here and in the northeast where I grew up.

My travels, multiple times each month back to the northeast, subject me to that self-centered approach which I have loved to forget.

Viva la difference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Time to Ponder and be Thankful

Cracked HelmetIts taken me 3 months to be able to type well and come to grips with my situation.

My helmet was deformed into the shape in the photo at about 8:35 AM on Sunday, December 30, 2012.

I was riding my road bike by myself on route 101 south near GSP airport. I was bundled up; it was 27F and a beautiful December morning.

The next thing I remember I am looking straight up into the blue sky and sun and a silhouetted figure is standing over me in a heavy German accent saying "the ambulance is coming, is there someone I could call?

After reflexively giving him my wife's name and cell number, I began to realize what was going on around me as I began to try to move and the pain set in.

A police officer appeared and said "you've been hit by a car, please try not to move." I later learned that the driver fled the scene after stopping and finding me unconscious, perhaps presuming the worst.

So now I am almost halfway back into my recovery from multiple broken bones, a concussion and a dislocated left elbow. I ponder.

A Time to Ponder

The police told me if I wanted to catch the guy the incident needed exposure. I am fortunate enough to call Amy Wood a friend. Within 24 hours of me contacting her, a crew made the video you see here.

The reality is that they haven't caught the guy and never well. Why would someone do such an incredibly horrendous act? I ponder.

Well as much as I love my new home of South Carolina, we dont promote highway safety very well with our legislation. Vehicle inspection? Not so much. I heard a statistic that said that 1 in 7 US motorists were uninsured. Perhaps this could make him flee? Believe it or not, only 14 states have FEWER uninsured motorists than SC.

Drunk? Looking at DUI arrests per capita, I dont know.

I guess I never will know why he left. I ponder.

A Time to Be Thankful

Well, Thanksgiving doesn't come for a while but at the same time I had a horrowing experience, I am thankful for many things.

First, I am thankful to be alive. Statistics reported by the Palmetto Cycling Coalition reveal its much less safe to cycle in SC than the national average. 

Dead duck

A benchmarking report states that "South Carolina is the second most dangerous state in the nation for bicycling with 13.5 deaths per 10,000 bicyclists", Yep, happy to be alive.and will be calling the PCC to see how I can help!

But beyond that I am thankful that I still have my health, my family and my friends, some of whom may be reading this!

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Noreen and the Perils of Short Haul Travel

Well, I have been meaning to write this one for quite a while but today "Noreen made me do it."

I have known Noreen for 3 hours but her life is an open mouth book to me. A 48-year old unnatural blonde travel agent from Bethlehem, I met her on her way to Montego Bay at around 745 this am in beautiful ABE Airport.

She sat down next to me at the world famous LA Cafe (with their great cleanliness record). It is so-called because its not a cafe nor in Los Angeles. "Vodka and orange juice", she said, "I need an eye opener."

I was working on my expense report and surfing with another laptop. Due to this I became "double-fisted George." Of course, when she asked my name, I became George.

As I got to the fifth receipt, I heard, "I'll have another." After the bartender made it she said, "I am headed to Jamaica, top it off for me!" The barkeep, fearing another 100 dB outburst, obliged by floaitng mor vodka on top. She then proceed to call a US Air ground guy over and said "how long have you worked here? I used to work here." "Six years", he said. She asked him to turn around, back toward her. Then she exclaimed, "now I know I knew you!" You can't make this stuff up.

Of course, I heard on her cell call, Noreen told a friend that she paid to upgrade to First Class all the way through to Jamaica. Having flown quite a bit this year, I too, was in first class. This should be fun; the cabin cant be big enough!

As you can see from the graphic, it was a Canadair CRJ900 with only 9 first class seats. I always try to get the "A" seat so I don't have a Noreen-mate to sit next to.

Well I guess I could've been the poor diabetic woman in 3F she invited to do shots 3-4 times before takeoff…but she was too close for comfort.

I sat down first, saw her coming, and did that long indeterminate gaze out my window onto the rainy runway.

Noreen, after sitting down, realized she had gate checked a carry-on and pleaded to have it returned to her (assumably cause it had a stash of booze). The flight attendant assured her it wouldn't fit in the overhead and it would be oh-so-safe in the hands of the USAirways baggage handling team.

I buried my head in my iPad and hoped that she would terrorize the other passengers. Come on, it was their turn. I did the 745-830AM shift! Of course, she had never seen an iPad. "Thats a strange laptop, let me see it" as she ripped it from my grasp. I told her I needed to work. Fifteen minutes and 20 questions later, she returned it to me after I showed her video that was "just like TV."

The flight attendant, not knowing her "pre-flight escapades with the vodka bottle", brought her a  pre-flight vodka and orange juice prior to taxiing. Just what the doctor ordered!

Doreen was now chatting up "3F" and offering her some of her liquid refreshment even after she told her that she was a diabetic.Noreen

After we hit 10,000 feet I dove for my iPad and earbuds. "Don't ignore me George, " she says, "its your job to enterntain me for the next 90 minutes." George wasn't having any of this malarkey and continued to turn up the volume on the heaviest metal in my iTunes library. Doreen dealt with my shunning her by ordering #4!

I actually dozed off for a bit, an incredible feat of mind over matter. I awoke to her finishing #4 while #5 sat ominously on the tray table. She had a layover and another 3 hour flight.. OMG!

Thankfully, we had a tailwind and the flight was almost over.

As we went on final approach an arm-wrestling duel ensued between Noreen and the first flight attendant with #5 as the Grand Prize.

Noreen loosened her massive grip on the cup as the flight attendant assured her that there would be more drinks on her connecting flight. As the plane thumped onto to the tarmac, the rest of the alcohol thumped into Noreen's bloodstream. She was in rare form.

As the seatbelt sign came off she stood and broke into a terrific rendition of Moon River. Loud, real loud. Those in the back who were spared during the flight suddenly realized what we were dealing with up front.

As she reached into the left-hand overhead, she brushed "Mr. 2A" from behind."I am sorry," she said, I almost got a hold of your a$$, like this." With that she got a nice handful of Mr 2A's port-side butt cheek. I that wasnt bad enough she said, "I only got one!" and proceed to repeat the exercise on 2A's starboard side.

2A, obviously a veteran traveler in a Noreen-filled world said "its nice to meet you Noreen!" I never would've had the composure.

So Noreen was 1 in a million. But one of the benefits of frequent up and downs (short haul travel) is that the cast of characters changes like acts in a play. Many interesting and memorable actors in their own way, just like Noreen (not)!

 

 

 

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Its here: Nokia 6085 vs iPhone 5 Comparo

 

 

Well, the new iPhone finally came last week while I was in PA. After living with it for a week, I thought I would compare it to its predecessor, the Nokia 6085, to see if the upgrade wad truly worth it. The lighter, smaller Nokia certainlly has its selling points, including the very cool clamshell Scandinavian design.

Having the tactile sensation of buttons as well compared to the hunt and peck keyboard on the iphone is certainly an advantage for the Swedish handset maker. Additionally, the way the Nokia limits the amount of enmail you receive by focusing on Yahoo and AOL mail makes more a more efficient use of your day!

The last major advantage for Nokia was the cost; truly a "get what you pay for phone." I scored mine for $5 + $15 for a charger. This allowed me to get through an email-free two weeks and get into the so-called "upgrade" Apple product for a mere $65 thanks to Amazon trade-in. The tale of the tape is below!!

 

Attribute

Nokia 6085

Iphone 5

Screen

1 in frosted glass, 640×480 resolution

4in IPS, 1,136 x 640 resolution

Pixel density

114 ppi

326 ppi

Memory

What? (4mb)

1 gb

Processor

yes

Apple A6, Dual-core 1.2 GHz

Dimensions

92 x 46 x 23 mm

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

Weight

84 g

112 g

Battery

Standby 240, talk 5 hr

Standby 225, talk 8 hr

 

 

Posted in Hobbies, tech, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fanboy’s iPhone 5 Upgrade-part 2

Friday September 14, 2012

Good news, bad news today. Up at 3:45AM (12:45 Cupertino time). Order completed in the first hour of sale for the iPhone 5! Heres the resuilt.

On a happier note I got my verifications and $405 from Amazon as they verified my iphone 4s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backorder! It appears that a part manufacturer (Sharp, who makes the screens) is having difficulties. Don't they forecast volumes??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday September 22, 2012

After hearing that a friend walked into an AT&T store late yesterday and walked out with an iPhone 5, I decided to call the local stores for a "sixteengigblack". One 10 miles away had them. So I checked my Apple Store Order Status to make sure it was still "processing" (so I could cancel it) and then flew over to the store.

After waiting in queue for 10 minutes and learning that I would definitely get one, I went to cancel my order.

Guess what? It had just shipped! After going crazy with no voice dialing and no smartphone capability I had thought I was going to get my phone today. Now scheduled for next Friday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Well, the slow boat from China has left the dock. Here the shenanigans starts. The package is today in Louisville, KY about 440 miles DRIVING from me. Its scheduile for delivery in six days. It does have to clear customs but I am convinced after watching 3 iPads and 2 other iPhones travel from China that they will hold the package for customs processing so it doesn't reach you before Apples scheduled delivery date. This makes sense when its in transit to coincide with a retail store "day 1" (e.g., September 21, 2012) but NOT when its been backordered for someone who placed an order in the first hour.

 

Stay tuned for my review of my 4th iPhone at a date to be determined :)

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Fanboy’s iphone 5 upgrade

I read an article recently about trade-on services for electronics, specifically iDevices. Amazon.com was rated highest. Even though my iPhone 4S was only 11 months old, as a self-professed gadgeteer, I HAD to have the new one!

Why, because it was there! Realizing from reading this article that trade-in prices would drop dramatically when the new stuff is released (September 12), I jumped on Amazon the week prior and got $415 for my 16 gb black iPhone 4s. It would've been considerably less if not for its like new condition and the fact that I saved all the original packaging.

Doing the math, I had hoped the new iPhone5 would have a subsidized carrier cost of $199. That coupled with the $250 early upgrade penalty was a whopping total of $445…less my tradein $30. not bad!!I hoped the iPhone5 would be delivered on the 21st (today I found out that is true). SO what would I do for 2 weeks for a phone??

Craiglist to the rescue. 70 minutes after searching for ATT I was in Piedmont, SC at a rest stop with a new five dollar bill to get my upgrade, a Nokia 6085!

 

Then off to buy a charger (for $20, lol) and to head to ATT for a SIM card to activate it.

 Now 4 days later I realize what a daily convenience a smartphone is. No email on the go, no texting without knowing the person's number (contacts woudn't fit), no camera, etc., etc.

So the new one I am going to have to buy some adaptors, etc for their new smaller dock connection. Radio, car, etc. but hopefully well worth it.

In the meantime I walk around in the darkness cast in an internet-less world.

Stay tuned for more in the saga as I due whatever it takes to get my new one on September 21!

 

 

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The Final Pilgrimage

I write this from the kitchen of our favorite place on earth. Its the 13th year in a row we’ve come to this same spot. Our move to South Carolina has made what was a 4 hour car ride to Mystic, CT, Friday night partying with friends and a Saturday 90 minute cruise to Woods Hole and a ferry ride undoable (due to distance).

So later this year we look for waterfront spots North and South of Charleston. But will miss the Vineyard, and though its changing, there is no spot quite like it.

Here are some of the things I will miss.

Home Away From Home

Having a second home that I know as well as I do my home is great and relieves stress (what vakay is all about). I know where everything is in the house and “on island”.

Photo Opportunities

If its not Cliffs at Aquinnah, the coastline or wildlife, its the gingerbread houses of Oak Bluffs.

Oak Bluffs Gingerbread

No Big Boxes or Otherworldly Things

Not a single traffic light on an island 28 miles long and with July and August populations reaching 150,000. Though a bit of a pain even in June.

There are no fast food places or businesses not based on the island. Its quaint and in-the-face of companies like Starbucks, etc. Again, the traditionalist statutes of MV keep it unique!

BYOBs

As of 2011, there were 9 dry towns in Massachusetts. Half of them were on Martha’s Vineyard. This used to be a plus as it gave it the dry towns (Tisbury, W. Tisbury, Chilmark, Aquinnah) a completely different experience from Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.

There were great restuarants that you could get a great meal for a reasonable price because I would bring wine with me. Its disappearing. Last week, we went to a stalwart dining spot of 20+ years in Tisbury, Le Grenier, where chef owner Jean Dupon had been making great meals for us since the 90s. We had a nice bottle with us that we opened hours earlier and we left after finding that Tisbury had passed an ordinance allowing beer and wine and not only did he have a liquor license but we couldn’t pay a corkage fee!

Untitled
Later the next week we had reservations at a great new place called the State Road Restaurant (like it despite ot being a favorite of Barack and Michelle). Not to be stymied a second time, we stopped by at 8 am to make sure they didnt have a license even though they were in a different town. They didn’t but the law pad passed and they were a days away from getting a similar license!!

So perhaps these changes are my way of rationalizing my sadness over our final pilgrimage but one can see that the laws of entropy are finally affecting such places forgotten by time as “the Vineyard.”

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Dreams Resemble Coincidences!

Interesting phenomenon, though it might be unique to my twisted mind.

Last week I was reminiscing about my old home when I was driving to Charlotte airport at 5 AM. How are my new homeowners doing? Has my next door neighbor finally sold his house? Have the Quigleys moved yet?

I have had the occasion to visit on business a dozen times in the last 6 months but hadn’t kept up with my neighbors.

The only flight I could get to Allentown was via O’Hare for a reasonable price. I landed there in of the busiest airports in the world and proceeded to my connecting flight at gate E3. I sat down in the small gate area in one of the few open seats I could find.

I looked around (as one does if you’re a people watcher like me) and next to me sits Mark Quigley!!

Mark proceeded to tell me all the neighborhood gossip that I had wondered about hours earlier! What are you doing here, I asked. He told me he had been working in Des Moines, Iowa for the last 6 months and this was only his second trip home.

The most bizarre of these rare coincidences seem to happen while traveling. The diving community and my travels remind me of 2….

1) We met 3 wild and crazy guys from New Jersey on a trip in Belize in 1990. Years later we were on 1 of 2 US-run liveaboard dive boats in Palau. Both were anchored in the harbor and the crews were friendly with each other. Our captain told us about these 3 guys on their boat and how wild they were! Guess who?

2) On the same trip to Belize we met anojther couple from California. Two years later I was in a Qantas lounge in Fiji and ran into the same couple!

In my dreams, sometimes you can will things to happen! Sometimes it happens in real life!

Dream or coincidence?

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Tales of Networking – Part 1

My wife Lisa decided she wanted to return to work part-time after our move to Greenville, SC last August.

I started attending networking events from the Tech After Five Group in September, led by a guy I’d met on social media a year earlier. It’s a great concept.

During January when Lisa was talking about returning to work, I suggested she come along. It’s a wonderful event held in Greenville at the Carolina Ale House and usually attracts 200 people.

They collect information when you RSVP using Eventbrite so you know attendees, their firms, and their reason for coming. Having become a networking savant a few years back and I scoured the list on Lisa’s behalf.

I found at least 3 financial types, who were attending to look for potential customers. Little did they know that they would be accosted by rabid job seekers.

We got there around 545 and it was already packed. We found Phil Yanov, the creator and organizer, holding court in the far right corner as usual. We took a number and waited in line. When Phil called our number, I re-introduced Lisa and told him I had a list of names I wanted to run through his memory banks.

I got a hit on the first one, David Kelley, who ran Kelley Retirement Services. Phil said, “big guy, red shirt, far left corner of the bar.” Lisa and I walked over and saw a guy that was unmistakably David Kelley. I laid back and struck up a conversation with a name I recognized on the other side the bar to allow Lisa her privacy with David.

No more than 5 minutes later I looked over my should and saw the following vizio diagram.

David had obviously found that he couldn’t help Lisa directly and was now practicing “degrees of separation”. The two well dressed suits were from Hilliard Lyons and IMG.

Lisa interviewed the next day, was made a verbal offer the following day and ended up meeting with another firm ("Firm B") before accepting the original offer. "Firm B" was aware of the other firms offer and was able to offer her something even more in line with her wants and experience.

Another classic networking story. Its why I love social media!

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Remembrances of 2011

The year draws to a close and it has been a successful and tumultuous one for Lisa and I.

It started in January with a third house hunting trip to Greenville and ends as I sit in my recliner in Greer reminiscing about all the change 2011 has brought.

from Front Gate

our new home

We purchased our new home on January 27th, thanks to Lisa DeLuca Alexander of Delco Realty, our local buyers agent here. It was a contingent purchase as we had to sell our home of 17 years in Doylestown, PA.

We flew home and had the house on the market within a week, though we hadn’t planned to list that early. The first week we had a horrendous ice storm and had some fairly major tree damage, but we persevered and had Keystone Tree Experts there within in a day (thanks Bob M)!

We had the house under agreement before Memorial Day but lost the buyer due to unreasonable demands after the home inspection. We had a second buyer under contract within 2 days after losing the first and this one stuck.

We had some wrangling with our seller here on the settlement date but finally settled on August 10 in PA and Aug 11 here. We used a mover and an auto transport company, with Lisa driving the 4 cats and me the wine collection.

Moody’s Movers

the wine transport vehicle

arrival of the bug a week after we moved in

We are loving the Greenville area, especially the mild winter thus far. Friendships are developing slower than anticipated but after a lifetime in the same place, we need to be patient.

Lisa had her knee replaced in late October at beautiful Patewood Hospital and is recovering nicely!

Now our last order of business is selling the lot we originally intended on building on at Cherokee Valley. We just relisted with Tammy Cooke of Allen Tate, who has been a resident there for many years. We’ve discounted the price to a point where we hope it will sell. View of Glassy Mountain is shown below.

Lot 109 facing Northeast

So my only New Years Resolution I made was to try to satisfy the urge to write by updating this more often! Happy New Year all!

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