Saturday & Sunday (trip report)

By Saturday afternoon I’d had enough of the heavy rain and idiot drivers; I just missed contributing to a multi-car pileup on I-40 near Wallace. (Do not tailgate in heavy rain showers.)

I arrived in Wilmington, checked in to the hotel, and went looking for food. I pigged out – at Smithfield’s BBQ. Real eastern NC bbq is the one food I can’t readily reproduce in Jersey, thus the quick feast. After that it was time to explore the downtown a bit, take a few photos, and off to the theater.

I was in Wilmington to see “1776”, with lifelong friend Robin Dale Robertson in a substantial role – he played Mr. Thomson, clerk to the Continental Congress. Kudos for him for finding a role which allowed him to read his lines – every time!

The play was staged in the Ballroom/City Council Chamber space at Thalian Hall. Thalian Hall, built in 1858, has always combined the theatre with the city government of Wilmington. The staging allowed for a “House” seating area of two rows of seats on either side of the main floor (I was seated second row center on the far side); and a cabaret-style “Senate” area in the center – mixing actors and audience together. My rough count is there were 150 seats for the audience – thus a small show.

The staging made the action more interesting; the cast was generally excellent although a few actors were singing way too loud for the space. 1776 is a long show; it ran four hours and a bit on Broadway (I saw it in 1972 near the end of its run); this show clocked in close to five hours as some time was used at the start for a charitable fundraiser pitch… and more time used at intermission to take souvenir photos (or perhaps they were alibis!).

Sunday morning found a break in the clouds, and it was off to Salter Path (actually Pine Knoll Shores) for the Road Scholar Program. Since I had most of the day free before registration (4pm at Trinity Center) I decided to do a bit more photography, and check out the areas. It’s been three years since I was down here, and yes – there have been some significant changes.

I turned off in Jacksonville to take NC-24 up to the beach, and along the way stopped by the Cedar Point Wildlife Trail (part of Croatan National Forest) to see how the hurricane had affected the area. The damage is noticeable – a lot less trees in many areas, and most of the snags are gone. With the snags (dead trees still standing) gone, the ospreys have retreated to areas well back in the preserve.

But with a medium telephoto lens, and by carefully listening to calls, I was able to find a juvenile pair. I contemplated getting the big (500mm) lens out but it was starting to spit rain again, and that lens is not weather resistant. So I stayed with just the one photo of the pair:

Of course, as soon as I left it cleared up a bit, so I swung north on NC-58 to see about getting good photos of the oldest church in the vicinity – the 1815 Hadnot Creek Primitive Baptist church. When I got there, after a few perimeter shots and a ‘hope-it-works’ shot through the window, a car pulled in behind me. The woman (a neighbor) decided I was just a photographer, and tipped me to the cemeteries hidden behind the church.

After this, it was off to Trinity Center for a weak of Road Scholar. Photos from that tour, along with a review, will be in a forthcoming post.

First trip of 2019

So it was time to travel. Part of the rationale for leaving the college classroom was to allow for more flexibility in travel plans – thus time to test that out. I decided to give Road Scholar a whirl.

Road Scholar is the marketing name for Elderhostel, which organizes tours for older people to various locales, and around varied themes. My parents went on 27 such adventures over a ten-year span, and quite enjoyed most of them… back in the late 80s and early 90s. Nowadays the organization is vastly larger and attempts to appeal to a broader audience (hence the name change). I decided on a tour “Historic Homes and Gardens of NC’s Crystal Coast” – in that I knew it was in driving distance, I was familiar with the area, and it was relatively inexpensive. Continue reading First trip of 2019

Blowing in the wind

As mentioned before, in January my parents switched over to Optimum for TV/Internet/Phone. It’s been quite the journey thus far.

First there was the substantial delay in getting a phone number ported over. Then in late February the TV began to pixelate like mad – and after a flurry of calls and resets and two different service visits, the drop line (from pole to house) was replaced – and it seemed all was well.

Yesterday saw high winds (25 mph sustained, gusting to 50) for several hours, and service became unreliable, before ceasing entirely around 10pm. Checking Optimum’s [useless] website via cell service showed “all is well” in the system. This morning, under clear skies and a near-calm situation, service has returned.

In class I used to joke with a name of “Optimum Offline” – I’m beginning to realize my business experience with the company bears little resemblance to the travails of the residential consumer.

 

Updating the platform

Recent visitors should note the removal of advertising – I have upgraded to a paid account here. This site is now accessible via several methods:

  • custom domain: avoiceinthewoods.com
  • redirect: blog.woodall.com
  • direct: woodallrvcc.wordpress.com

This will be my first ever domain with “domain privacy” enabled – I’ll see if that actually does anything to slow the spammers.

More posts coming soon.

Phone number Phollies

After six years on FiOS, the parents decided it was time to move on – rates up, customer service non-responsive (it’s difficult for older people to deal with fast-talking jargon-spilling agents on the phone).

So they moved to the other choice, Optimum.

Optimum isn’t.

Oh, the Internet is fast, and the TV works ok. But there’s a little problem of moving a phone line. Or really, just a phone number. And on that simple issue, Optimum can’t manage. So far, it’s taken eight phone calls (over three hours aggregate on hold)… and we’re still not there.

The latest (as of 1/7/2019) is that 1) we need another phone line(?); 2) that will add $15 to the monthly charges; 3) they need to install a second modem(???), and 4) they scheduled the appointment without bothering to tell us about it (found out via a call in to them).

So… as of now, we’re waiting. I’ll update this when there’s a resolution.