Tag Archives: GoPro

Rust never sleeps …

Learning is akin to the old adage about rust. It never sleeps.

The knowledge acquisition process sees no rest, either: it never stops, never stalls, never slows. We are perpetually in learning mode. The switch is never flipped to the ‘off’ position. Sure, you can’t ever be quite sure where all this classroom (and school of hard knocks) work will take you – but usually it’s somewhere good.

March 21, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Reid, wow, it sounds like your grad school experience is winding up in a really good way. I think both your mom and I, or at least me, wouldn’t mind attending the graduation so let us know when DePaul schedules the ceremony. Walking onstage to collect your diploma would be a fitting way to wrap up your school work. We need to be there to recognize your success – plus, we can head to one of those nice Chicago steakhouses and maybe catch the Cubs or the White Sox. All this, Ellen, just when you’re cranking up the post-graduate work in St. Paul.

My own students have kind of stepped onto a good thing. A good friend of mine in my golf group, Jack Blackham (she’s a Brit and is the one who got me following the Liverpool Reds), somehow put me in touch with a small suburban newspaper, the Mint Hill Times, that is sorely in need of writers. When I talked to the publisher, I asked if my students would be candidates for writing positions – and she was just thrilled at the prospect of hiring them as freelancers. So my guys are gearing up to submit story ideas and buff up their writing skills. It’s kind of exciting for them to have some solid prospects to earn a few bucks and get some bylines. It should, in theory, all come together sometime in the next 10 days to two weeks.

Went to an incredible series of short outdoors films last night with Kitty and Tom Bohr. The films were winners from the Banff Mountain Film Festival. There must’ve been 8 – 9 films shown, including one about four Texas A&M students who rode wild mustangs from Mexico to the Canadian border as a way to show the plight of these wild horses, some 50,000 of which are being held in government pens pending final disposition for them. It was such a good film. Heartwarming and touching. You can look it up: Continue reading


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To quit or not to quit? ‘Dad, get over it’ …

I’ve probably plunked down a smooth 4 G’s for the privilege to flail the water with lures and baits at disinterested fish.

In the expense column are Miss Emma, rods, rubber waders, a Yakima rack system, a tackle box jammed to the gills with untold hooks-weights-lures, a GoPro, dry bags, top dollar coolers, et al.

Better make that 5 big ones. The cost of fish per pound? Gold is cheaper.

Surely Ellen and Reid roll their eyes when their old man is in the dumps. As is her custom, Ellen isn’t afraid to tell her dad to ‘get over it.’

Good point.

February 23, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Reid, I really appreciated your “Don’t quit!” response to my self-pity text about my latest fishing failure near Charleston. You need to come down here so we can validate our abilities. It was just so deflating to get up at 0-dark thirty, jet out of the house at 3:45 a.m. and drive 225 miles at breakneck pace to release one little speckled trout. I went to a new place on the Wando River on the Mt. Pleasant side of Charleston and once there, at the highest of the high tide, I wondered aloud ‘How the hell am I going to fish this?’


Miss Emma surveys the scene along the expansive Wando River. We met our match and paddled back empty handed. But really, as the carnival barker might yell, “You pays your money and you takes your chances.” Hell yes. Emma and I ought to heed Reid’s sage advice: “Get back out there.” And we will – next week.

There were no visible creeks, just an endless expanse of grass alongside wide, wide water. The prevailing thinking holds that the reds venture into the grass at high tide to feed on small crabs so I paddled in, but saw no fish tailing, no disturbances to tip off their positions, no nothing. We retreated to the more familiar structure of some docks where the one little speck took a plastic bait. The prevailing thinking also says speckled trout mass together, and where you find one, you’ll find more. But nothing else came to the surface. There were three rods on Miss Emma and I alternated from a popping cork and fake shrimp to cut mullet on a Carolina rig with the final rod rigged with a lightweight copper colored something-or-other. A couple of strikes and that was it. I tucked my tail and headed back to the ramp a few hours earlier than might have been otherwise. What was really debilitating was a small flat boat of young guys seen and heard just a creek or so away from us reached the ramp the same time as we did. They had boated multiple reds on virtually the same bait I’d been flinging around and about. I do think it’s the fisherman rather than the fish. But damn it, Continue reading

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No rest for the weary, but who’s keeping track? …

‘No rest for the weary’ goes the saying. I do my part by burning the candle at both ends. Ellen and Reid know this; if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Travel, teaching, fishing, walking, golf. The order of importance isn’t important. Rather, it’s all in the doing.

It’s worth noting a few passages were snipped from this letter. Those are for the kid’s eyes only. You’ll find out about the tangents soon enough.

February 15, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Let the period of rest commence. I feel beat to a pulp but it was all worthwhile in all respects. It’s a lot to pack into a few days. More on that later to both of you.


If I can travel and keep seeing sights like this, I will. Looks like a lengthy trek around the Alps in Europe is in the offing. More on that next week.

What a drag to return to cold. It is a major bummer. Went to the store last night once I landed in town and the shelves were predictably barren since there’s supposed to be a storm blowing through the Piedmont. Charlotte, however, just goes ape at the mere suggestion of inclement weather; schools are closed today yet so far nary a flake has been seen let alone piling up. As far as can be determined, we drive the same cars on the same tires as you guys have in Illinois and Minnesota. We’re just a bunch of weather softies. Yeah, I know we’re short on the number of snowplows, but for crying out loud the streets have been brined. An inch of snow or two for you guys wouldn’t even be a good start to a storm, let alone all this weather gibberish about shutting down the town. All this talk of ‘black ice’ just drives me nuts. It’s nothing you haven’t seen for years and years in the form of hard-packed snow. I mean, really?

AT&T Uverse is gone. Cut. Goodbye. Now comes the ordeal of trying to replace it with Netflix or some other service when there is something to watch. So far I haven’t missed it one bit. I’m not sure what I’ve done with my time but what I do know is it hasn’t been spent ogling the tube. That’s for the better, I think. You guys are going to have to advise me on how to hook up/use those other services. Don’t be shy since I’m relatively (make that totally) clueless as to how all this Internet/streaming thing works. For the most part, my entertainment hours are spent dialing up Pandora or listening to my iTunes playlist.

I am, however, ready to go fishing in Charleston again. The new GoPro audio-friendly camera back just arrived and will give it Continue reading

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Running out of gas leads to more of same …

Most Mondays (or in this case, Tuesday) the letters come together in a jiffy; 15 minutes tops from start to finish. In a sign of a surely fading memory, I keep a little notepad by the downstairs sofa and when I’m loafing (which is often) it makes it easier to scratch down a little ‘reminder’ about this topic or that.

Of course, when you write about the mundane goings on of daily life, it doesn’t make for the most scintillating reading. But a lot of weeks, that’s all a writer has to work with.

January 26, 2016

Ellen/Reid: I just ran out of gas yesterday when it came around to writing the perfunctory Monday letter. Despite the best of intentions, it just didn’t get done. But this morning, as I bid ‘Good morning, ladies’ to dear Emma and sweet little Georgia on my new go-to coffee cup, it suddenly became time to put pen to paper, or at least electronic, digital paper.

Your mom texted me Monday afternoon about those two little hooligans and we had a good chuckle between grandparents over how Emma is just growing, growing, growing. I loved seeing her splash and swim in the pool; those lessons are worth their weight in gold. She was just beaming when she came up for air, and no doubt Georgia takes in all that her sister is doing.


Sweet little Georgia is ready to take after her big sister in the pool.

Her tiny feet won’t be that far removed from joining her big sister in the water.

Reid, there is no way in hell I could make heads nor tails out of whatever that spreadsheet was you sent from your grad school studies. I have absolutely no clue as to what you were showing me, what it was used for and how it matters to what you’re studying. More evidence that your dad is, truly, dense as a loose stone. But it must mean you’re liking what your doing and the studies are going according to plan. Your mom and I also giggled about that. Remind me again, in layman’s terms, what I puzzled at and how it has any relevance to mankind.

I’ve become something of a binge listener to iTunes. This morning it’s listening, and replaying time and again, More Than This by Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. It’s about 35 years old but a great, lilting tune that takes me way, way back. Yet before that, yesterday, it was 21 Pilots and Stressed Out. I’ve amassed a great playlist of the so-called adult alternative music. Reid, I sprinkle in a little Beck with the Kongos and Cage the Elephant, et al, and I’m good to go.

Those tunes will help keep me alert and bopping along on I-77/I-26 early this Thursday morning when Miss Emma and I head back exactly 211 miles to Bowens Island. The temps will be chilly but I badly want Continue reading

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Do bad things happen in more than threes? …

They say bad things happen in threes but after these past few weeks it seems entirely possible that they occur in bunches of four or more.

But no one was hurt in the most serious of the instances and the true cost was only money. As Ellen and Reid found out in last week’s letter, it’s how you react to what’s on your plate that really matters.


November 22, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Well, it’s been one hell of a last 30 days; job loss, phone dunked in the saltwater near Charleston, and then the crash.

Waiting today to hear from the appraiser but the policeman at the scene saw the Camry’s front end and said “That looks like it’s totaled.” But we shall see. At least no one was hurt. The officer called it a ‘garden variety’ crash at a site – where two lanes of traffic join into two lanes from opposite directions on Tyvola onto I-77 northbound. The poor Hispanic woman was at a dead stop in the right hand lane as I had my eye on traffic merging from my left. When I began to speed up, bam, there she was. Of course, having no phone was a real problem since she spoke little or no English. My first words to her were “Are you okay?” and then she returned to sobbing to whomever she was talking to on the phone.

In the eyes of the insurer, my Camry was totaled. But the silver lining is that no one was hurt. I'll spend sufficient cash for a new car but as they say, it's only money.

In the eyes of the insurer, my Camry was totaled. But the silver lining is that no one was hurt. I’ll spend sufficient cash for a new car but as they say, it’s only money.

She hadn’t called 911 yet. Really, not having a phone was the most maddening part, and Verizon has been almost no help in helping me get a new one. What really frosted me the day before was that the replacement phone from the insurance company was ‘reconditioned’ – so, I’d been paying $10 a month on insurance for a ‘reconditioned’ phone whose battery wouldn’t hold a charge. I almost went nuclear at the Verizon store when they wouldn’t replace it on the spot and that I’d have to work through the insurance company. What a total rip off. The ‘new’ phone ostensibly arrives sometime today. Once it does, the Verizon manager said she’d help me set it up.

The police were nice enough to let me retrieve a few valuables – notably my golf clubs – and gave me a courtesy ride home. For the first time, and hopefully the last, I got to sit in the rear seat of a cruiser surrounded by iron bars. The police woman and I had a nice Continue reading


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