Friday, September 24, 2010

Blogspot Does It Again

Blogspot has done it again unhappily. They have made sudden unannounced changes to their blogging system and I fear my posts may look a little odd for a while until I can somehow master their changes. Photos are now faster to download supposedly though they are integrated into the text HTML so they have a habit of sliding across the page disconcertingly. I have also not found out how to set my own defaults in typescript and font so...it will be a learning curve for tired old me. (Indeed upon publishing the foregoing paragraph appears in the wrong typescript and I am unable to change it! Good job Blogger people!)

(I saw this motorcycle with a bizarre flashing white light on the back and took a picture for the hell of it. Keeping pictures centered in the text has become next to impossible with this new system. Very frustrating).

I have tried to keep my layout consistent and simple to read, not least because I like it that way. I find it hard on my eyes to read blogs that use white print on a black or dark blue background. Masthead photos that change all the time confuse the eye as well. Ask yourself why the New York Times, the paper of record hasn't changed it's venerable masthead in living memory...so I have found a color combination that is restful to my eyes, and a simple layout which is easy to read with larger pictures centered in the middle of the text.

If this layout changes believe me, it will be an error and not my wish as  I am conservative in all things, except the political as it were, and prefer they stay the same on my small corner of the web. Fonts keep reverting to default,  as does text style and centering is impossible to maintain consistently and pictures slide around the page at will. I am very unhappy.  If all else fails I will continue to keep this page pop-up free, ad free, and commercial free as much as I am able.

Taking pictures and writing my daily diary, a place for me to reflect and store my memories is supposed to be a daily meditation, a relaxation as it were. Blogger always does find new and annoying ways of making it harder. But I shall soldier on, with apologies in advance for screw ups to come.

Lower Duval

This is tourist mecca in Key West, the area known simply as "The One Hundred Block."Stores sell crap to visitors, be they off cruise ships, docked a short walk away, or people who come to Key West under the strange delusion that this is the heart of a community, that in fact some of the community suffers Lower Duval rather than embraces it. When you consider the rent on one of these stores can be as much as thirty thousand dollars a month and they are selling everything for five dollars you have to ask yourself, what precisely is it they are really laundering here? It used to be that t-shirt shops offered to "customize" their wares and then charged the victim, surreptitiously something crazy like $300 on their credit cards for a logo printed on a cheap t-shirt. That scam got stomped but how they justify their ghastly stores these days I don't know. Nor do I care to.But the visitors, they come and they keep coming. I saw a new crop of nuanced t-shirts with messages vaguely pornographic but mostly puerile in their humor. Perhaps it's time for me do another essay highlighting their literary efforts, and Key West's shame.The absurd rental charges go a long way to explaining the diminutive sizes of some of the stores. The world's smallest bar justifies itself as a cute place to squeeze in and get a drink. The rent for the space has to be reasonable, surely?The tourists and the touts aren't the only people on Lower Duval. Apart from yours truly, who is truly uncomfortable in this place there are the usual crop of bums. To call these people "homeless" is a disservice to the working poor and dispossessed on this island. These vagrants are proving that the First Amendment and subsequent Supreme Court rulings are alive and well in Key West, even if they seem to be under attack elsewhere in the Republic.To be a bona fide palm weaver on Duval Street you need an actual Key West city permit. Buskers have them too, as does the guy featured recently in the paper who makes he says an average $150 a night telling "dirty jokes" to passers-by. When I get tired of taking 9-1-1 calls I know what my next job will be. Buy tickets, take an excursion, everything you want is available on Duval Street.And even if you don't want it, touts will lunge out and collar you as you stroll by.Art for commerce's sake.Yup, I thought to myself, four drinks for the price of two, then I'll be ready to ride the scooter home...There are chickens and pigeons on the street and sidewalks are crumbling. I miss First World America.The idea of sitting on the crumbling sidewalk drinking in the sun sounds like a first class way to waste an afternoon, but perhaps that is the point.She gave me the two-for-one tickets on my way down and I slid by on my way back up. It seems a ghastly way to earn a living to me. Of course in winter she will probably make more than I do working for the city in my "proper" job."Oh look! Sloppy Joe's!" Yup, our Norwegian friends here probably think that's exactly how it was when Hemingway drank in Key West. Never mind; they enjoy the delusion, we enjoy their money. Crass isn't it?
This is not a tourist wobbling on a bike for the first time in decades. this is a dedicated professional scurrying between his second and third jobs hauling lunch as he goes, smoothly and efficiently around town.UPS even serves the Conch Republic in 90 degree heat.This guy missed the trash can on his first toss. I was ready to get silently snarky but, good man! he went forward and caught his hoop on the second try.A weird facade.Get a photo with a parrot. If you guessed he needs an official city permit to do this you'd be a gold star student.My wife says she wants her scooter back next week. I got the 150cc ET4 up to 73mph indicated on a downhill slope on US One this week with the wind at my back. That's a hot shit little Vespa, and it makes cool cat motorists mad when I sneak up and pass them on the open road...On the other end of the speed drama conch trains are still plodding around town at 5 miles per hour. Mostly empty.Roll on winter with it's bustle and it's crowds. That will make the One Hundred Block truly unbearable for one of my refinement and delicate sensibilities.