Sunday, March 12, 2017

Miami Beach

It was a week ago we went up to Miami Beach to spend a windy twenty four hours at the Bentley Hilton on the beach. 
 Nice hotel, expecially as we were staying on points.
Philip and Van came by, snowbirds from Maine who used to live in Key West, broke bread and petted Rusty. 
 The view from the seventh floor window included an ocean glimpse, quite a decent one. It was as close as I got to the beach pretty much as it's closed to dogs. No surprise considering how inconsiderate dog owners can be.
 Did I mention it was windy:
Early Sunday morning Rusty and I took to the streets. There was a running race in progress on the main drag but I like alleys anyway and Rusty could run here in peace so I got to see quite a bit of the backs of the buildings:
 Miami Beach is cool. I'm not, so this is not my home, but it's fun to visit.

 Ingenious shelter, I saw several cubby holes with pads in them:

 I guess V1 Visa students don't get a chance to learn Spanish:
 The master of his domain wherever he may be:

On the return trip we inspected the more usual store fronts and art deco buildings one associates with this area:

These days Dade County is called Miami-Dade because they said no one knew where Dade was but everyone recognizes Miami. I've lived in Florida long enough these things irritate me so I still think of it as Dade County and if you don't know Duval County is where Jacksonville resides and Tallahassee is in Leon County too bad for you. I get grumpy about these things but I like history. So these old signs please me:
Rusty could bite through his leash in seconds but eh knows I want him to stay put so he does even though like all dogs he takes up all the slack I leave him for some reason. Good boy:
 This guy was running the race thing so I suppose he had a reason to have a bottle of water stuck down his butt. 
 The Jewish Museum, saved for a visit next time.
 Back in the room with a view.
  Then brunch...Pinkie's Hollywood Breakfast, friend polenta bacon spinach and egg:
 Then we blew the city....
And headed back to the Keys. Card Sound Road:

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday In Pictures

I have been greatly enjoying my Panasonic Lumix FZ300 and I have packed more photos than I can handle into my Google account. I hope they give you some cheer this Friday still in winter.
The joys of the telephoto lense, a single non removable 25-600mm job augmented to 2400mm (!) digitally. The modern camera electronics astonish me. 
The camera is rainproof, dustproof (they say) and has built in wi-fi making it simple to transfer pictures to my iPhone where I can adjust them and post them in the normal way.
I enjoy my iPhone camera of course but the Lumix does add a couple of extra dimensions, distance shots and depth of field which latter is bit more subtle in a digital camera than an old SLR.
The digital camera even when set to f2.8 struggles to overcome and compensate making it trickier than I expected to get decent depth of field. 
But I do like playing with the manual settings and some of the custom features too.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

On Riding

Daytona Bike Week is starting tomorrow and runs through two weekends. I've tried to go and check it out but the crowds are appalling and I don't fit with the pirate themed posing and motorcycles-as-lifestyle-ornament standing around and preening on the waterfront. I've passed through, been deafened and been glad to move on. 
Naturally the motorcycles, mostly Harley Davidson's show up in the Keys as a spin off from Bike Week, usually the week before. It makes sense, because unless you have  a private yacht (shown below) or a plane a motorcycle is about as interesting a way as any to visit. And many of the riders fly to South Florida and rent a bike for the tour through the Keys followed by a ride up the eats coast to Daytona Beach about seven hours north.
This is one of those weeks, like Bike Week in September that I make every effort to leave the Bonneville at home and ride the Vespa. This puts me outside the field of Harleys on the highway. Triumphs don't rate the pirate world of Harley Davidson but Vespas aren't even a blip on the horizon. People who ride Harleys tend to be focussed on their brand to the exclusion of all others.
I think my preference for solitary riding rather than in groups is an extension of my personality, as I like to decide for myself how fast to ride and when to stop and where to go precisely. My time on my motorcycle even when commuting is a time to be alone with my thoughts. When I used to sail I spent hours on passages sitting on the rail watching the waves go by. It sounds boring but it was an excellent meditation. Listening to the motorcycle as I ride does the same thing on long straight empty stretches of road.
I'm not much interested in listening to music or making phone calls while riding. I like the purity of the ride itself. I am as grumpy as you might imagine when I hear distorted music playing from windshield speakers on passing motorcycles. I am also annoyed by motorcycles leading parades of slow moving cars on the Overseas Highway.  I was trained years ago to make progress on the road and I have this weird instinct to move smartly along the road at all times. I am genuinely surprised to see cruisers cruising...makes me an idiot! I use my mirrors and signals and only pass where permitted but I if you are bumbling along in car truck or motorcycle close to or below the speed limit I won't wait around for you to wake up.
And I find it odd how all our idiosyncrasies, prejudices beliefs and needs and desires burn along this narrow stretch of asphalt frequently supported by islands and columns all the way to the mainland. Scooters and all.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Rusty A Year On

Facebook reminded me I got Rusty last February 20th and in an amazingly short time, eight days after Cheyenne died.
Rusty is completely different from Cheyenne and cannot really be compared. She came from a home, not a very nice one but she was never a stray and she lived out her life with me in a form of retirement, as is proper. She always seemed to keep me at arm's length even though in the critical moments of her life she always sought me out. Public displays of affection annoyed her.
Rusty is young energetic and curious. He is intelligent in ways I have rarely seen in a dog. I enjoy his company immensely.

He hates to be photographed so I snatch a long distance telephoto picture when I can.
He has a lot of the predator in his genetic make up.
He is amazing at moving through the convoluted mangrove woods hereabouts.  He pops off the trail and circles around  appearing silently in front of me once again.
The warped and twisted trunks and roots of the mangroves are no obstacle to him.
The south Florida heat doesn't bother him much at all though I am quick to whip out the water bowl which he usually ignores.
He is an independent little dog, and puts up with the leash because I say so, though he could bite through it in two seconds. He did that once to come to my rescue when he thought my trainer was attacking me while we were working out together. Sean thinks he is very cool. 
He loves being out in the woods and every morning we spend an hour or two on the trails checking stuff out before the world is awake. It's the best way to calm down after a night at work.

He is learning to be friendly with large dogs he meets and his confidence in the last year has grown by leaps and bounds.
When people see him trotting confidently about they leap to the conclusion that he is a stray which of course he isn't; he just gets there faster than me.
He has the run of the house and there is no fence outside so when he pops out through his dog door he is free to leave any time. He hasn't run off so far. I like to think he is happy at home with me.
He has been great fun to get to know and these days I am encouraging him to stick close to me around the house, teaching him to enjoy being touched and petted. At first I thought he didn't want to be touched but I have discovered he just didn't know it was allowed so now he is always choosing to lay down next to me and flop on his back to indicate a need for a tummy rub. I am putty in his hands.
He is at home anywhere.
He is not much driven by food but he did find a chew on the road and he played with it for a while. I don't fuss too much about found food, I figure he knows what he likes and I don't want to put my hand there anyway.
I look forward to many great years ahead.
And no, Cheyenne is not forgotten.
Good girl, suffering the heat.