Crowz Nest

Because it's time... as it was once before.

My Photo
Location: Port Murray, NJ

I'm a bit old to be starting out in life again, but that's where I am. Sadly. Or gladly. It's where I am. Come along. Watch the fun. Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sometimes, you punt ...

It had been a long time since I'd tried to get some really nice pictures of the dogs. I decided that I'd try for some nice seasonal shots this afternoon, even though our autumn color has barely started yet (very, very late, after a very disappointing year in my garden - not much color around here this year at all.)

The dogs, when I went out with camera in hand, had already struck an amazing pose, sitting side by side, looking in opposite directions. The shutter on this old digital camera is very slow. When I framed this shot, it was perfect. By the time the shutter responded, Crow had shifted her position and spoiled the shot. Almost a good shot, but not what I wanted.

The dogs were happy enough to hang out on the patio, so I thought I'd see what I could get shooting from the other side. My yard is sloped, and the patio is terraced, so I thought this approach might afford me some interesting angles. I forgot, however, about the clutter in the background - wind chimes, patio furniture, and worst of all the covered grill, sitting like a great black mound in the center. Still it seemed worth it to me. I was interested in what I might get. (And there is always PhotoShop to fix things if you haven't screwed up too badly.) Apparently, Crow did not agree with me, and found the entire exercise immensely boring. (One really needs to click on this photo to get the full effect of just HOW bored Crow was.)

The second attempt produced marginally better results, but that background is what it is. And this time Hudson had turned, ruining the effect I was looking for.

I really liked being on eye-level with the dogs, but the background wasn't working for me. So I zoomed in to try to eliminate it.

Like I said. Sometimes, you just have to punt. Or take down the windchimes before you start a photo session. Or head off to PhotoShop.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

All I wanted was a BLT

Ordering lunch used to be a fairly uneventful process. We've recently switched food services where I work. With the change came a rash of new employees. Some of them appear to have been put on the front lines without sufficient training. What follows is what actually happened when I recently ordered a BLT.

I walk up to the sandwich counter and finally make eye contact with a young woman who clearly would have preferred to have been elsewhere. Nevertheless, I stood there bravely until she acknowledged me. Once smiles had been exchanged, I thought the worst was over. Oh, but no. Here's how it went:

I order a BLT on rye, untoasted.

She pulls out the rye bread and asks me if I want it toasted.

I say, no. Untoasted.

Then she lays the bread out on the board, in front of the fixings bar, and stands over it staring at me.

"What want you on this?"

I blink. "A BLT, please," I repeat, thinking, after the toast-no-toast confusion that perhaps she hadn't heard me. Or, at least, never heard anything but "rye."

She blinks in return. "Yes, yes. What want you on it?"

Now she has my attention. "Bacon," I say. "Lettuce, and tomato," I say, and then think to add the answer to the only remaining question that might need to be asked. "And mayo on the side, please."

With staggering indecision, she reaches for bacon, picks up one strip and holds it out to me for approval. "Yes," I say, seeing that we're about to get somewhere. "That's bacon. That'll do."

So, she folds the one strip of bacon in half and lays it on one slice of the rye bread. And looks at me, waiting. "Excuse me," I say, "I've asked for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Could you put a little more bacon on that?" Clearly, I've broken a rule, as she glances furtively over her shoulder for the presence of her supervisor, and puts one more slice on the bread. "May I have one more?" I ask. Reluctantly she complies. The bacon is now on my sandwich. And her hands are back on the sandwich board as she once more stares blankly at me.

"Yes?" I say, somewhat uncertainly, unsure of what further confusion there might be.

"What else want you?" she counters, clearly becoming exasperated with my apparent indecision.

"Um," I said. "Let's see. How about some lettuce?" I'm really getting into this now, wanting to see how far it can go.

She picks up some leaves of spinach. "No, no," I say. "Not spinach. I didn't ask for bacon, SPINACH, and tomato. Lettuce," I enunciate clearly, pointing to the romaine.

Ok. Now she's on it. We get through the lettuce part without further difficulty. And now her hands are on her hips and I need not stretch my imagination to know that her toe is tapping.

"What else?" she says. I'm encouraged. Her English is improving.

"Tomato?" I ask.

One thin slice of hot house tomato lands in the middle of the lettuce. I decide, given the styrofoam appearance of the poor thing, not to push for more. But what's this? She's now reaching for the mayo without being prompted. Some part of my original request appears to have registered. "Mayo," I'd requested, "on the side." I'm really, deeply gratified by this, until the hands go back on the hips and the exasperation in her attitude has deepened to a point where I'm actually beginning to feel at fault here.

"What?" I venture cautiously.

"Well," she says, picking up the ominously dangerous looking squirt bottle of mayo and levelling it at me. She gestures at each side of the sandwich, one with three thin slices of overcooked bacon lying forlornly upon it, and the other with a leaf of romaine, and one, sad, thin, pale slice of tomato staring up like a bloodshot eye. With a great sigh, she appears to realize how dense I truly must be.

"Well," she repeats. "Which side you want it on?"