Monday, July 30, 2018


Lobster mini season doesn't seem to have been so bad this year, bad in the sense of so many people coming down to the Keys and combing every inch of seabed for lobster. I did a lot of hunkering after I got back from vacation last week expecting crowds and cars but it wasn't so bad. 
My world is circumscribed by back roads and dog walks and waiting to come to terms with another long bout of being at work. However as the Miami Herald reported it the two day non commercial lobster hunt in the Keys yielded five arrests, no doubt just as stupid as the one reported below, if not as spectacular.
From the Miami Herald:

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Kyle Chesney’s arrest report, Lawhon’s boat “did not give way to our patrol vessel and made an erratic series of swerves to the right and left” while driving in Kemp Channel near Cudjoe Key in the Lower Keys around 2 p.m. Thursday.
Chesney and Lt. Andy Cox turned on their boat’s blue emergency lights and siren, but not only did Lawhon not stop, he “sped up and made a sharp right-hand turn, which caused him to almost fall out of his boat,” Chesney wrote.
As he was fleeing police, Lawhon was throwing lobsters overboard. Chesney said he counted Lawhon, who is from Sopchoppy, in Wakulla County on the Panhandle, tossing eight.
“Lt. Cox and I yelled at Lawhon to stop and that he was under arrest,” Chesney wrote. “He continued to toss lobster overboard.”
He finally stopped his boat, but Lawton again threw more lobsters from his vessel, according to Chesney’s report.
The two FWC officers yelled at him to stop moving and put his hands over his head. They grabbed Lawhon and placed him onto their vessel and cuffed him.
I took Rusty out when the sun was near the horizon and we spent a  happy hour chasing will-o'-the-wisps under thunderheads amid threats of rain.
 I did my usual of walking and standing and pointing the lense while Rusty trotted back and forth smelling invisible stuff. It was a very pleasant evening far from the crowds.

 It wasn't a glorious riot of Technicolor in the sky but I enjoyed the shifting angles of light on the clouds.

 Lots of excellent cloud formations.

 I messed around a little with some filters built into my Lumix FZ300 camera.

Many years ago I carried a Minolta single lense reflex camera around with lenses filters and adapters in a bag and fiddled with the apparatus for each shot not knowing how the pictures came out. Nowadays with a single camera, a long variable lense and a powerful battery not only can I take decent digital pictures for small reproductions such as I post here, but I can transfer them easily to my phone for editing cropping and posting. And it's all free and in house.  Amazing!

In this picture you can see the limitations of the 600 mm (!) telephoto in the warm evening air. It's evocative if not crisply defined:
With these so called bridge cameras, a bridge between point and shoot pocket cameras yet not quite all the way sophisticated and crisp like proper single lense reflex cameras of professional quality, it's hard to get depth of field soft focus shots but it gets easier with practice and messing around with all the various settings.

I close these pictures with a final photo, though in point of fact I took it at the beginning of the sequence when the sun was highest:
It was a very pleasant time needing no one and nothing else, me my dog and my camera. And the car with which to get home as darkness fell.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Rusty in the Woods

I am back in the flow, working six nights and off one as we pick up summer slack, use vacation time, create overtime and try to train new dispatchers to fill our gaping ranks. 

And so an old man’s fancy turns to thoughts of recent adventures...

...with his dog, naturally.  

And those exotic Appalachian woods of western North Carolina.  

Friday, July 27, 2018

A Day

Come home, slip into daily life and then ask yourself: where exactly is it I live?

In my defense I was in the convenience store  escaping the heat and I was standing in line  to pay for a dehydration special when I remembered I don’t live in the fashion center of the world. Thank God people like this live amongst us in the Southernmost City because as bad as my clothes sense may be, and boring, there is always someone ready to be the focus of startled attention. 

And when all else fails there’s Rusty. Might as well get out and see if the mangroves are still there. They are.

And that strange map shows a power outage affecting a thousand Lower Keys customers. Including me. Air off, Netflix off, clock off.  Grr. Give them credit Keys Energy was on the job right away but I went to work grumpy and a bit late but leaving my wife with power at least. We were powered up at work as usual:

I took a break half way through my overtime and spent a little time on the balcony at the back of the police station.  This is where we have access to the outside air and a view that never changes behind the car dealership next door!  These days the prison block that is the middle school rises up to the south and there behind it I saw the moon. It wasn’t a great picture but it was a moment I took to reflect on vacation and it’s counterpart: being in my routine. 

Back home Rusty was on the couch as I climbed the stairs at 2:30 in the morning, but he was ready to check the neighborhood.  We do this quite frequently when I get home in the early hours and I enjoy being out alone with him. But last night dragged its feet a bit.  He had to check every rock, every lamp post, every blade of grass. He had been away for two weeks so everything needed inspecting, obviously. 

While he ran back and forth and I kept a benign eye on him the hot night air did not slow him down as I had hoped. Everyone complains about the heat which should not come as a surprise in late July, but to me it feels about average. So I should not have been surprised Rusty had lots of energy. I was home abed by 3:30. 

The arc of twenty four hours should have brought me back to my gym but I got derailed.  A call from the mechanic said the part was in and he could install it right away if I got there NOW. Here’s the thing: when the drivers door handle breaks suddenly it is the most crippling annoyance. Wind the electric window down after remembering not to turn the engine off. Reach out. Open the door. Wind the window back up.  Grrr. I went straight to Oily’s; sod the exercise. 

After three days without a door handle it felt lovely to have a complete car back. Lunch with friends presented me with a new experience. Tea in a French press. It was okay.  I got a vegetable sandwich instead of the steak sandwich I ordered and when I told the waitress I was okay with it she was pathetically grateful for me not blowing up. What the hell is wrong with people? Get mad over a sandwich? 

Lunch was conversation and sandwich and tea and then back out into the heat. In twenty four hours I should have a new iPhone a new shift at work and a whole bunch of angry drunk people dialing 911 all night long.  I hope it’s so hot they all retire early and the power doesn’t go out so the air conditioning kills them to sleep.  I’d like to be home in bed before they wake up.