Say Something Sunrise

Ironically this was one of my earlier wake up calls.

Not the morning in the picture, but today, when I am writing this blather.

More than two hours before sunrise, I was up walking around this same spot, a little more than two years later and thought to look East towards the sunrise.

Except it won’t be there for a while.

Coming home to sit in the dark house, I’m going about procrastinating everything that I needed to do and did “other things” instead.

Looking out the back window from my Poang Chair, through the bougainvillea, I saw the same colors starting to show in the eastern skies.  Orange tints began to appear, painting the large banana tree leaves under my mango tree back there.

After all, I’m in South Florida.  I think it’s a state requirement that you have at least one fruit tree on your property and since I know how to propagate plants, I have too many.  Too many banana trees is not really a problem, but the mango can get massive.

My mango looks like it has been mistreated lately, I hacked it down from 15 feet to a more manageable ten.  If you “lower” the top of the tree, you will end up with a skeletal look, but the plant is quite forgiving.  It’s putting out tiny little chartreuse leaves from the trunk just below where I butchered the plant.

That’s my yard, too many fruit trees in pots.  So many that when I look at it from “space”, I can see the trees around the pool.

But that picture.  I was standing at NE 7th Avenue and Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors, Florida.  Looking east towards the ocean two miles away and the approaching sunrise there was a sign flashing.

See Something
Say Something

I did see something.  A beautiful sunrise.  It was all for my benefit, at some level.  The city has not awakened on that day, June 24, 2017, at 6:14.  The warning sign kept repeating its mantra, and I stood there, my faithful sidekick, Rack the SuperDog (TM) looking towards the sunrise and up at my face.

“Isn’t it beautiful, boy?  It’s our privilege to be up this early and see the city like this!”

I got a wag or five out of him and he went back to looking at it.

“Well, lets go home, the house should be waking up soon.”

Rack stood up and began walking across the street in the general direction towards our house, tail wagging and leading the way.

Beautiful mornings should be shared.  My dog seemed to enjoy it too.

Now, two years later, I’m sharing it with you.

Get out of bed early once in a while, go have a look.  You never know what you’ll find.

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Antique Car at Wilton Manors Fire Department

Every town has its quirks.

Wilton Manors has them too.   Mostly the inhabitants of all sorts, but once in a while you see something that leaves you asking what on earth is going on.

Square in the middle of town there is a restaurant.  There was a restaurant before it in the same spot.  It was a greasy spoon chicken wings joint that moved just out of town.

That’s great if you like that sort of thing.  I can make my own greasy spoon chicken, thank you, and I prefer barbecue or grilled at any rate.  Much better for you, or so they say.

Whoever They are.

As the old building rotted, someone came along and did the typical Screw The System Building Rehab.  Knock down every wall but two, then build a new building around it.   That means it is a rehab, and therefore not new construction, and the laws are less strict.

Not good for those of us around it.

The restaurant that later inhabited the space, to this day, is a sushi place.  All painted in purple.

I’m not a fan of eating raw fish in a Barney colored restaurant blaring bad rock music from twenty years ago, but maybe you do.  I’ll leave you to it.

Squatting there like a big purple carbuncle, it does draw your attention.  It is hardly ever “full” so if you want a meal and they are open go on in.

See, that’s the thing.   Right now, it isn’t open.  It’s closed.  They have a sign taped to the front door that explains that they’re doing some remodeling or some re-menuing of their food.  Bottom line is that it has been even emptier than it had been before.

Maybe they will open again or maybe someone will buy the place and hopefully banish Barney and paint the place a different color under a new format.

I love you,  You love me, Why not have some Broccoli?

As the place has been closed for about 2 or 3 months now, maybe longer, it has collected a few cars.  They were strategically placed to block the parking lot off from someone borrowing it and maybe making it look like it is actually inhabited with say a car club.

Ok, I’ll say a car club.  Because the cars that were left behind aren’t junkers.  I suspect that the city here would have something to say about that.  The cars are almost always what could be considered classics.

This car parked there caught my eye and forced me to think about it.   It’s a somewhat restored 1950s Chevrolet.  In baby blue, it also is Indifferently restored.  The back deck of the car is stained with age.  The paint seemed to have been done badly because it was a bit rough in appearance.

 

And the car had a flat.

Not just a flat, but the wheel itself was ground down leading you to believe that it had been dragged across the pavement to rest where it is over the final few feet.

By a giant purple dinosaur perhaps?  I doubt that, but the love that Barney would give to that car would be to put on the spare tire, I would hope.

1950s cars are rather rare now.  They’ve mostly gone into the hands of collectors.  They generally aren’t used to decorate parking lots with 1980s Corvettes, last century bucket trucks, or some of the other automotive relics that have showed up over the last month.  Always three vehicles, one to block each entry, and that sad semi restored baby blue Chevrolet that was there that day and this morning still.

We saw it that day.  Me, my dog Rack, and a rather nice looking tortoise shell winged Dragonfly balancing on the hibiscus hedge that is well maintained and intended to protect the property from Purple Dinosaurs.

So if you go by, you may be able to witness the worlds slowest car club.  Join the Dragonflies, and the other quirky denizens of this town.

 

You just won’t be able to get sushi, unless you bring your own.

Even better if you bring a purple dinosaur and drive up in an antique car.

 

You have one right?

Sunrise on Wilton Manors

I get up whenever I feel like it.  Unfortunately I tend to feel like it as early as 4:30 AM.  A late day is getting up at sunrise.

Part of it is habit.  I would get up on weekends back in the day.  First it was for rowing on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.  Later it was for running in the Valley Forge National Park, or to the trails for biking and Inline Skating.

I miss the Skating the most.  South Florida with its drivers that aim for anything out there including other cars is not conducive for putting any decent distance on inline skates.

Decent distance for me is 100 miles per week.  That is 162 km for the Imperially Impaired.

But the habit continues.

Lately it is a two mile, 3 km dog walk every day, rain or predawn shimmer.

That predawn shimmer can be quite beautiful.

I’m out there with my faithful side kick and shadow, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) every morning and we cover practically the entire Wilton Drive.  It’s a coping strategy.  You see, Rack is quite fearful and having little traffic before 7AM, we’re out there to try to do some distance to keep in shape.   It works, but it also serves to allow him to get a taste of what he is afraid of without truly having a major panic attack.

The minor ones will trip you up enough anyway.  To get out and explore your own town at a time of morning when there are few others out there truly is a privilege.  On the one hand, you get a weird zombie movie or post apocalyptic vibe where there are tumbleweeds rolling down the main drag.  It’s dead quiet, and there are only a few  people up.  You can ignore them.

But there are the changes as you walk along.  The skies go from indigo to purple to blue.  You get a Subtle Hint Of Mauve, whatever color your eye translates that to be, on everything, and the buildings begin to glow.  The flowers begin to pop.  Later you hit the golden hour and the world wakes up.

So does the traffic, and that can be a distraction for a fearful medium sized mostly black dog.  He gets more insistent to get

Off The Drive and turn back into the neighborhood to head on home.  It’s a 45 minute or more wander.  Later walks are always longer.   You need to take care getting across that street that you didn’t when you left home.  People wave, the officers in the patrol car flash their lights or chirp their sirens to say hello, dog walkers emerge.

I am living my own version of the intro to the movie Roxanne as all the sudden I am smiling as a baby Beagle and a Pug are wrapped around my legs begging for attention and Rack is snuffling around the owners looking to be pet.

We’ll end up home soon enough.  Herd a few ducks, watch the last clouds turn from golden to white, and ponder whether the rain will come on shore before you get home.

Another dog walk at sunrise ends with the cool of the living room.

Hello!  I’m home!  What’s for Breakfast?

Wilton Drive At Sunset and a Conversation About Docker And Other Computer-y Things

So what about Docker?

What do you mean, what about it?

 

Have you gotten anywhere with it?

Oh that.   No, haven’t started.  It’s going to be a series of articles when I get started anyway.  It has to be.

 

Why a series?

Docker being what it is will need one to set it up, another to actually use the beast.  And besides, it’s for my Linux audience anyway.  Us weirdos out there in the One And A Half Percent Of The Market that realize that my 5 year old laptop on Linux is faster than your brand new one out of the box.

 

Yeah Yeah Yeah.

Less Microsoft DRM Crap means a better experience.  Besides the only thing I ever do on Windows these days is write the blog and that’s only because I have more disc space there to store all my photography.

 

True but you have Linux tools to do Photoshop, right?

Yes.  GIMP and Inkspace run natively, and I can run Irfan View under emulation on Wine.   I really do not need Windows at all.

 

So why not migrate?

The Windows machine has a bigger screen.  It’s 15 inches, and the Linux machine is 12 but much faster with the same resolution.

 

Yeah yeah yeah…

Stop.  I have a picture to take.

 

Oh?

Even Rack stopped faster than you did.  Never mind that.  Hold the leash, look West down the Drive.

 

You’re right.  Nice view.

I’ll get a few while I am at it.

 

Like you said, the best use anyone ever got out of a Parking Meter is to use it as a camera mount.

Yep!  And with me using a phone as a camera, it needs all the help it can get.

 

The silhouette looks like that shirt I had for years.

The one of the Key West skyline?   You know that was a test shirt.  A Mistake.  It was meant to be multiple colors and they only got black on it.  I liked that shirt until my weightlifting made my chest too large to get in to it.  Wear it in good health.

 

So, that Docker Thing?
Yeah.  Installing it is trivial.  A couple commands on the Linux Command Line, then edit the .CONF file to configure it, then start the container install.  I guess I can get that much done by next week.  Over a beer.   Did I tell you that I did my best coding on a Friday Afternoon after a Guinness and a Roast Pork Sandwich?

 

Many Times.  Don’t forget the horseradish!
That reminds me, I still have that in the freezer.  About 3 pounds of Pork Loin.  Will you ever try that?

 

Didn’t think so.  Ok, lets get the walk done, I want dinner.

Peas and Bees on Early Voting Day

This was the day to do something outdoors.

October in South Florida is our Secret Season.  The weather Up North isn’t yet awful enough that people have decided to escape.

Our weather has decided it is time to be “Nice Out”.  The highs have dropped to the low 80s.  The rains are here, but moderate.  Hurricane activity is fading away.  This year it was abrupt since the last one churned up the ocean enough to make it pleasant and cool on land.

In other words, I live where you vacation.

When I heard about London suffering through a heat wave where people were being told to limit outdoor activity, I realized that their weather was a normal South Florida summer day.  Low 90s and sun.  A bit much to be out and about, but you can deal with it.  That would be a cool Philadelphia summer day for example.

But now?  Windows open, roofs off cars, locals enjoying it.  If you’re up before sunrise you may even see a stray jacket or two.

Yeah, that nice out.

So what did I decide to do on that Tuesday Morning?  Stand on line.  I went to our City Hall and went to vote.  It took about fifteen minutes since there was a line of around 20 people.

But when that was all done?  What to do?   How about walk the town?

Beautiful day for it and I did not want to head home just yet.  I planned on hitting the thrift shops and looking at books and jeans and other odds and ends that a normal life would need.   Why not?  It would be a two mile walk total, only 3 Ks.  Sunny but not oppressive with a nice breeze off the ocean.

That’s why you live here.   Sunny With A Nice Breeze Off The Ocean.  Even in February it can be like that.

I left the first thrift store and walked past our wee little triangular park.  It’s too small to put a shop or a house on it, so they put shrubs in and a few benches and it’s a place to picnic.  It is also a place I walk the dog past before the sun comes up two hours later practically every day.

In all our Wet Season rains, the shrubs there are growing crazily.  In fact I would not mind getting some cuttings from those plants and propagating it.  It would make a great hedge in the yard.

But some of it is as high as seven feet.  If I can’t see over it, it’s tall.  Chock full of orange and yellow flowers.  The bees love it.

Mind you, even as tall as I am, I’m not fond of bees.  Go make your honey but leave your stingers away from me.

Luckily they did.  They may not be Africanized Killer Bees since they left me to my own curiosity.

But among all those multicolored flowers were some “weeds”.

Now, I’m not a farmer but this struck me as odd.  Sweet Pea Flowers among the hedges.  In fact if they are allowed to grow, I’m sure you could get a small harvest of the things.

There they were, pure yellow, intertwined among the hedge, and growing some ripe pea pods.

Made the bees happy I am sure.

It also struck me as amusing as to the incongruousness of having a Pea farm in a park in an urban area coated with hundreds of bees.

That’s all part of being here, I suppose.  Drop a seed and it will grow.  Ignore it long enough and you have a farm full of misplaced invasives.

 

Sometimes it all works out for the best.

A Morning Gift, Or Not All Of The Creatures Up Before Dawn Are To Be Avoided

Wandering through the heart of Wilton Manors means walking through an area that other people consider their playground.

It’s my neighborhood, you don’t live here, you’re borrowing it.

I’m up at stupid O’Clock.  That varies between 4:45AM and if I really am sleeping in, as late as 7AM.  One of us will get me up typically before 6 but it is almost like I set the alarm for 4:45.

Two solid hours before sunrise.

That means that some of the creatures of the night are not yet gone.  No, Wilton Manors isn’t that edgy or dangerous, it’s that people have a habit of lingering after the bar closes. If there’s a problem here, it is almost always due to an outsider coming in.

Typical for a resort.

So I watch as we walk.  Being up that early means I am out before the beginning of rush hour walking Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM).  It benefits him as he’s still quite fearful and afraid of things like traffic, the 50 Bus, and the beater of a minivan that the newspaper delivery folks tend to use to drop off the morning dailies.

At 5:15AM there is very light traffic, and that’s just enough to keep the dog alert without being wrenched out of his mind due to a stream of cars.

This one particular morning was an odd one.  There were leftovers in the bar parking lot having a party.  Salsa music floated out of a car and I caught random snippets of a conversation in Spanish, but not enough that I could completely understand.

Walking further south on Wilton Drive, the Fort Lauderdale police cars were servicing their normal Donut Emergency speeding north with the lights flashing.  They turned into the Courtyard Cafe and went for their breakfast.  Why they need to speed like that I have no idea but I do plan to have a talk with the chief of police next time I see him about this.  It’s a two or three time a week occurence.

I was awakened from my own reverie by a flash and a friendly wave.  One of the patrolmen on our own Wilton Manors PD were waving a hello and a quick burst from their lights.  Nice folks on duty here.

We have a long daily walk to start the day.  I’m out more than an hour most mornings.  A two mile walk with a dog can be a half hour or it can be two hours.  It all depends on how much there is to sniff and whether the walk itself slid late and I’m running into local friends to chat with.

Yeah, I can run at the mouth.

But right in the middle of Wilton Drive, in a traffic lane, there was a woman in a silver VW Jetta.  She was waving at me.

Now, being used to the creatures of the night, I am wary.

She got out of the car.  It was stopped in the traffic lane.  I was amused and relieved when she got out of the car in a black lace baby doll shirt and some rather short shorts.  There was no way she could have been hiding anything in all that lace.

I heard her story:

“Excuse me, but I want to give you something!”

That’s new.  I’m watching traffic approach from the north.

“You see I have some things.  I had a dog that I had to give up because my landlord won’t allow dogs.  I have a little Yorkie and I have to rehome him for a while.”

I’m thinking that I’m about to be given a dog by a random woman dressed in a baby doll shirt.  “But ma’am…”

She continues:

“So I have all these treats and I want to pass them onto someone who has a dog while I figure out what to do about my Yorkie.”  She opens the back door in a swift moment and starts looking through her packages.  I notice that her shorts were quite short indeed, but nothing out of the ordinary in Florida in August.

She pulls out a bag of treats and a small container of dog food.  Rack immediately stops being afraid and realizes that this could be good for him.  “I have some goodies.  Don’t worry, they’re all still sealed!  Can I pet your dog?”

“Sure if he will let you, he’s very fearful…”

Rack let her pet him but not too much. A truck sped by and he flattened out on the pavement.

“Aww, he really is afraid.  Enjoy these!  I really wanted someone who had a dog who treated them right to get them and you two looked like you were having fun on the walk!  Take care, bye!”

“Thanks, that was truly nice of you!  Thanks again, we will enjoy it!”

Needless to say I was bemused.  The package of dog treats and the small container of food were perfectly sealed, so Rack will get some treats.

It isn’t every day that you get stopped by a stranger in a major city to be given treats for your dog!

This is a picture of the Nations First Permanent Pride Flag installation, or so I have been told.  It stands on Wilton Drive, across from City Hall, in Jaycee Park. Taken June 14, 2016 at around 2 in the afternoon.

About a week after it was installed, the murders happened in Orlando at The Pulse bar.  Now the flag is at half staff along with all the other flags that were seen on Wilton Drive.

It was described by John Oliver as The Most Florida Thing That Could Ever Be.  A Latino night at a gay bar in the theme park capitol of the world.

Or very close to that.

It was a closeted man, hyper religious, and hyper authoritarian.  He had a profile on a gay dating app called Grindr.  Whether he used it to date or to look for victims, we don’t know yet.

 

Probably both I would expect.

 

We do know he basically hated everyone, according to what his boss said in the interview that I saw.

I will not Pray For Orlando.  It was religion and prayer that got us to where we are.  Had this murderer been following a Religion of Peace, he would not have killed.  His own personal version of the particular religion that he did follow was a twisted relic of evil once his hateful mind got through with it.

I will leave it up to you to judge.  I simply will never support someone elected to office who supports the possession of those sorts of weapons.  They are designed to tenderize their victims and turn them into hamburger before the victim hits the ground.  They are designed to kill people more effectively.  They have no place in this world.

It is long past time to act.  If Sandy Hook and 20 children dying there, and Columbine’s massacre weren’t I doubt this will be acted on either.  It probably is too profitable for the paid off class of people to want to anger the NRA.

Enough praying.  Time to pass some meaningful gun control laws in this country and where ever else needed.  If the laws are there already, why aren’t you people enforcing them?

Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of The Way.