be sure to check out Joan's latest on her website:

be sure to check out Joan's latest on her website: (usually she updates her blog every Sunday evening but she can and will surprise you) **Special Note: all of Joan's archives are now up--almost ten years of 'bitter girl.' As Joan says, go wild!**

Friday, January 29, 2010

What A Mess

This is the beach renourishment project in fabulous Juno Beach (from the south end, facing north), otherwise known as How To Spend Millions Of Dollars On The Most Ridiculous Mess Ever. This whole thing is supposed to be for the benefit of the sea turtles. (The project is working its way south, towards the camera, so the beach you see in the foreground has not yet been widened.) Do you see the ship out in the water, on the right (left-click on the picture with your mouse to get a larger version)? That is dredging sand off the bottom of the ocean and they are pumping it onto the shore and distributing everything around with bulldozers. The problems with this are: 1) the sand is now so firmly packed that no sea turtle alive would be able to dig through it and 2) in addition to sand, they are also sucking up sharp rocks, about the size of your fist or larger. Because of the heavy machinery, they are also breaking up many shells that now have sharp edges. In my mind, I envision any sea turtle coming to this beach to lay her eggs as crawling over one sharp rock or, failing that, trying without success to dig into the sand and promptly heading back into the ocean, to lay her eggs somewhere else.
Anyway, enough of my rant. You can see that otherwise the sky was beautiful but there were some clouds. The breeze was off the ocean and it was comfortable when the sun was out. I saw a few people fishing, all without success. Up by the pier, I happened to overhear one fisherman saying all anyone's caught in a week was cobia, which is similar to kingfish, at best only marginally edible until they get too big, which opens the possibility of their having eaten something poisonous to humans. I was back to my car at a little after three, so it took me about seven and a half hours of mostly walking, although I did indulge myself by running to reach the pier on one really boring stretch of the beach north of this dredging project.
Most of the public beaches were closed to swimming, again because of the sharks, but I saw none. A nice looking honey was studying a thick textbook, something medical, while trying to catch some rays south of the big hotel, whose name escapes me, just this side of the main beach. Another blonde cutie in front of another new and expensive hotel said Hi to me and smiled as I walked by, but she seemed awfully young and it looked as if she was there with either her family or friends. She also had her cell phone out on her beach blanket, as if she were expecting a call.
I did some more work on the sequel, so the ending is coming along but I don't want to post it here until it's done, which could be a while. Also got caught up on the newspaper. Otherwise, I'm sitting here waiting for the telephone to ring, as I did find a few job positions in the last couple weeks to apply for. But with more than six people unemployed for every position that opens up and my resume looking terrible, unfortunately the silence makes a great deal of sense. I did apply for a Census 2010 job and took the test and passed, but when I called earlier in the month, I was informed the soonest that hiring might begin is late February, if not early March.
I have enough money to pay this coming months' bills, but I won't have enough to make my car payment on the eighteenth. If nothing materializes between now and then, I will be forced to sell some diamonds, gold and coins I have. Then I do have cash advances on some credit cards but after that, I'll have to sell my condo, so at least I have a way out, because I owe only $27,520 on my place. Sadly, many people who either bought at the height of the real estate bubble or took out a second mortgage do not.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Tale of the Disappearing Shark

Part 5 of the sequel is coming along but at a glacial pace because I am distracted by possibly having to sell my place if I don't find a job soon; so hang in there everyone--everything will get wrapped up.
In the meantime, I went to the beach again yesterday. The National Weather Service predicted it was going to be mostly sunny but it turned out to be mostly overcast and cloudy. I estimate they are wrong about one time in five and this was one of those days, but they didn't miss by much, because if the nice northerly breeze I enjoyed on the way up had shifted to off the water as they nailed a little bit later than it did, they would have been accurate on the sun part as well.
On my way north, there were a fair number of people fishing in the ocean. When I got up into Juno, one of three young guys asked me how far I'd walked. When I told him I'd started out in Ocean Reef Park, he then inquired of me if I'd seen anyone catching anything. I then informed him that someone had landed a three or four foot nurse or sand shark in front of the condos.
"They just left it there?" the young blonde guy with reflective shades incredulously queried me while dipping into his Skoal.
"Well," I explained. "They took what I suppose they considered the best parts of it, and they left the rest. They butchered it right there on the beach, maybe a few hours ago. It looked pretty fresh."
Then the blonde fisherman made some kind of appreciative remark about shark meat being expensive and desirable and I asked him what they were using for bait.
"Sand fleas," he succinctly replied, adding that he and his friends had started out north of there, presumably Jupiter, and had worked their way down the coast.
"And they're not hitting on those?" I in turn inquired of him and he waved this off by asserting they'd just gotten there. Sand fleas are considered the primo bait around here because they're free, fresh and plentiful--just dig them up out of the sand. If fish aren't hitting on sand fleas, they're not biting on anything.
I wished him good luck and resumed my walk north until I got to the pier. After getting a drink of water, I turned around to go south.
By the time I had returned, the three fishermen were gone. A couple that had been fishing with shrimp was still there with two rods, still not catching anything. My experience with shrimp is that it's a waste of time--the only thing you're going to catch with that is something you're not going to want to eat--e.g. garbage fish, such as catfish or croakers.
In the park, hundreds of turkey vultures were floating and circling on the updrafts. Not scrounging for food as the seagulls were, but just hanging around on a lazy crazy winter Florida Saturday. I passed many people who were out looking for shells, as the dredging up in Juno had transfered mountains of sand from offshore onto a newly widened beach. The shells I guessed were for collections or arts and crafts--my grandmother, who moved to Vero Beach a few years after my grandfather retired from Prudential, used to do crafts with shells--seascapes with a lighthouse, for example.
Anyway, I wanted to take a picture of the shark for this post but by the time I returned it wasn't there. Maybe the tide took it, maybe someone else made off with it or maybe someone buried it. Or perhaps that blonde guy I had spoken with and his friends had high-tailed it down the coast and scooped it up. All I know is that it was gone.