Friday, November 29, 2019

Rusty Downtown

Young Rusty is doing very well these days. He had an attack of tonsillitis earlier this month and a quick visit to the vet got him some pills and eye cream to clean up a related eye infection. He was pretty sorry for himself for a while there, sleeping and not eating but after a day of treatment he was back to his usual self. 
I saw a face in this door at the Shipwreck Historium (below). Perhaps you can see it  too?
This sign still cracks me up. I have posted it previously. If your bicycle smokes don't bother bringing it around here.
An abstract picture I saw around the entrance to Mallory Square. Lovely sidewalk decorations not yet desecrated by scratching chickens.

Rusty on guard at the entrance to the Mel Fisher museum. That or Rusty resting and watching the world go by from the top of the steps. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Still Flooded Mangroves

I have seen more dirt lately but these ultra high tides have dragged on far too long.
Rusty makes a splendid reflection model standing up to his ankles in high tide but for me its a matter of wading in Crocs and enjoying wet muddy feet whether I like it or not.
Birds are starting to migrate back to the Keys as winter sets in Up North. You might think a  red flame of a leaf could indicate a new season but Fall comes and goes around here with not much change in color, and only a  slight drop in temperature.
Winter is supposed to blow clouds away and they are supposed to be replaced by blue skies but this winter the heavy rain clouds are holding on giving color and texture to the skies.
With darkness falling around six o'clock in the evening thunderheads just make everything that much darker that much sooner.

A few clouds do make things more interesting overhead!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Duval Before People

A rooster wandering by himself on Fitzgerald Street is  a tropical vibe if ever there was one and the fact he started heading towards my dog full of menace was enough to ensure we doubled back and took the other entrance to Kino Plaza. Rusty lives in fear of wild chickens. 
I have been noticing this art in public places more frequently lately perhaps because I walk with my head down? There are several poems at strategic spots and this one is near Captain Tony's on Greene Street. 

Kirby Congdonb. 1924, is the author of numerous collections of poetry, short stories, essays, letters, plays, sculptured constructions and music composition. A graduate of Columbia University, he has been active in the independent literary scene for over six decades. He has been the poetry editor for the Key West literary magazine, Cayo, the publisher of the litmag Magazine and was a regular contributor to The Small Press Review and The Key West Citizen. Congdon’s work is collected by the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas. He was one of the featured poets at the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar which included seven Pulitzer Prize winners and seven poet laureates – Billy Collins, Maxine Kumin, Robert Pinsky, Rita Dove and Paul Muldoon, among them. In 2011, he contributed a visual poem to All Insignificant Things Must Disappear, a group exhibition of work by internationally renowned artists at Trinity Museum in New York. In 2014, at the age of ninety, Congdon had a first showing of ethereal landscapes which he feels are his best work, created sixty-four years ago.  Also in 2014, he was the featured poet at the Frank O’Hara Poetry Festival in New York where he opened the event with his poem “Discus Thrower.”  Congdon is the first Poet Laureate of Key West, Florida.  He continues to write and compose music.

I rather like walking downtown before the people get there and this time of year it's quite cool too which is a bonus after a very long hot summer. I like the heat usually but if it was long and hot for me then you know it was pretty unbearable.
I don't know what got into me photographing bars downtown but there they are for a change.
Those are the oldies and now there is another hopeful trying out a location that lately hasn't managed to hold any one business for long: 
I walk around and see all sorts of new businesses all the time. This one below got an irritated note from someone who said the name high up violates some code or something. I cannot imagine the patience it requires to navigate all the requirements.
A new day, a fresh start may wash away all your woes. Or not. It looks pretty though.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Flying By Parachute

It was a perfect afternoon to go fly a kite off the south shore of Key West, and because it was sunny and breezy and pleasant it was also an excellent moment to have a lunch break. No surprise then when I showed up at the beach there was some parasailing underway.
Parasailing is the sort activity you just about expect to see when you look across the water from Key West. You'll see brightly colored parachutes wafting back and forth along the horizon like shadow puppets against a screen.
I ended up watching this flight as by chance I found myself observing the end of the ride, which was in reasonable range of my camera's telephoto, though at the limit of the high resolution view. The riders were winched down and the parachute caught and folded with no fuss at all, quite amazing.
It was in just a few minutes that the two passengers were coming right back to the Smathers Beach ticket office of the parasail company. Just like that it was all over, and I suspect they had a glorious ride.
Ready for the next ride and it really did look as lovely as it appears in the picture.
And no one knows the fun they had aloft, now they are regular beach goers, back in the world.
I was actually looking for an old landmark that used to crop up when I started dispatching first responders 15 years ago. The corner of South Roosevelt Boulevard and Bertha Street used to be known as "The Ramp," because there was an actual ramp at the spot. You can still see it here:
The ramp is not really noticeable as you ride by and you can see that modern traffic would not make it easy to back a trailer up to the ramp, position it precisely and leave the tow vehicle sticking out into what has become a busy roadway.
 It had to go I suppose, but in reality slabs of concrete aren't that easy to remove so here it still is, as steep as ever but simply cut off by use of heavy cement blocks.
 All ready for the winter months, and no boat ramp needed.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Flora and Fauna

I think of it as new but the H2O Suites hotel on Simonton offers watery rooms and has been so ding for a couple of years. Apparently you get a plunge pool with your suite and a rooftop bar witha swimming pool for all guests to enjoy when they aren't stepping out onto nearby exciting Duval Street.
It doesn't look exactly the sort of architectural style Old Town Key West is known for but it does catch your eye. Well it caught my eye; other people  have to spend a lot of energy finding their way.
Bright sunshine is supposed to be the time of day people with cameras avoid going out into the noonday sun. I like bright sunshine and I find that even with my camera bright light and dark contrasts make me happy. I do like the clouds to be interesting where possible but even a clear blue sky can turn into a backdrop that looks right sometimes.
If I had to wait around for gray skies, fog and drizzle and overcast I'd never go out with my camera.
The Italian restaurant on Simonton Street, Abbondanza, has found a way to discourage undesirables from camping out on their comfortable bench. They have removed the seat.
I found it inside the front doors ready to be installed fro guests when they start dinner service at the restaurant. It's how you take the imitative to manage your affairs when you are bothered by people hanging out. Pretty smart and self reliant.
The bright sunlight gave me a chance to nail some lizards relaxing and soaking up the rays.
Neither of them seemed intimidated by my camera pointing at them and the FZ1000 has a pretty big lense when it's pointed at you.
I don't often get the chance to hang out with stationary relaxed lizards so I gave them the treatment as they clung brilliantly to the palm.
And while we think about wild tropical animals we can't ignore the ever present, ubiquitous wild chickens of Key West. People say they were brought from Cuba to be used as betting tools in fights, which never made sense to me. I've looked  at photos and paintings made in the early 20th century of Key West streets and there are no chickens to be seen. I suspect they were domestic creatures that just escaped and came to be accepted or ignored until they became darlings of the tourists. But that is a much more rational and uninteresting story than making them out to be descendants of prize Cuban fighting roosters. Perhaps Cuban roosters have figured out a way to reproduce than no one knows of, but I prefer rational thought to make believe. Boring is Me.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Key West Bight Shadows

I count myself a reluctant visitor downtown in winter when crowds are the norm. Key West with a population of 23,000 counts roughly two and a half million visitors a year, and I don't count them so I take public statistics as real for such an unreal number.
Faced with an empty lunch break the question is what to do? My wife does food shopping  as she feels she has a better grasp of what we need versus what Michael likes to buy on impulse when let loose in Publix or Winn Dixie. Car repairs are not an issue except on days off and other chores fall by the wayside when you have workday that lasts from 5 am to 6:30 pm. When I worked nights I would either roam Key West The Sleeping City or I would take a nap in the break room at work.
Now I work days it seems criminal to waste my one hour of daylight indoors so I head out to practice recording the town where I work.
Rusty gets his walk at four in the morning obviously in pitch dark unless the moon is up and we wander various roads and suburbs near where I live. He gets the day to himself sunning his lazy self in the driveway or using his private dog door going indoors and sleeping off his nap in air conditioning. I have to say I do envy him a bit as I pull out of the driveway and settle in to my 30 minute commute.
Some people commute by boat. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and were I single I might do that again but Rusty wouldn't stand for life on a boat and though I am speaking for him I will venture a guess he likes being master of his bed, the couch, the sunny side of the deck and the bushes in the driveway as the inclination takes him. A small boat might be a step down in his world. Though one has to say as commutes go it looks pretty even to my jaded eyes:
So with an hour to burn and only a small town to walk in I come back to places that require me to look closer to see things through new eyes. Like the glossy paint on the hull of America 2.
Christmas decorations have sprung up around Key West including the waterfront alongside Schooner Wharf Bar. You might imagine boats docked nearby like the schooner America 2 gave the bar its name. These days the boats are for pleasure where once they were the lifeline of commerce in Key West a way point between both coasts and Europe and the New World.
You can rent a power boat or you can watch seagulls ignoring people. I did both at once. 
Refreshed for an afternoon of 911 calls.