The Caretaker's Concern 12/3/08
Lake Temp. 43 F.
Ghetto temp. 46 F.
Island tmp. 38 F. Monday's L/H: 36/48 F. (Yesterday's temp.s not observed)
Current conditions: Wind from the South, 10 to 15 mph with higher gusts. mostly cloud covered night sky, a few stars visible but dimly.
The day began with a bit of wind from the South, as the day wore on it settled a bit but has now picked up again. Weather report calls for snow and rain tomorrow, probably not a great day for a trip to the mainland but the Caretaker is hoping to make a dump run. Usually a dump run is rather mundane, but tomorrow the Caretaker will be accompanied by someone else, this person will probably make the trip to the dump a touch more interesting. Hopefully the precipitation will hold off in the morning, the Island is long overdue for a dump run.
The weather has not exactly been cooperating for quite some time now as far as photography goes, hopefully these weather patterns will shift in the near future. Thankfully the Caretaker has quite a bit of a back log from the Summer on to October, but it is getting a little bit tiresome all this more of the same. The good news is that the Lake is just 11 degrees above freezing, if all goes well the trend will continue and by the end of the month there will be some opportunities for reflection shots on the Lake. Based on past experience the Winter so far seems to be shaping up to be a good one for snow and ice, that is if the current trends continue. If it turns out to be like last Winter the Caretaker may just have to quite the Island for a while. Sloshing around in 3 inches of water on top of the ice is way less than fun, nor does it make much for photography. The Caretaker is not complaining, he's chosen his path, he must keep walking, if he wanted it otherwise he could set up a studio and start photographing nothing but staged shots.
The Caretaker was off Island for most all of yesterday, he took a road trip to North Jersey, down to the town he grew up in to see his dentist, this time around he had a few moments to go for a walk about the town center. It was somewhat surprising to see how much the town had changed, but also stayed the same. The one thing that stuck out in his mind was the number of shuttered retail spaces, in conversation he learned that most of the closings were rather recent but either way, he was a bit surprised. In fact, it was mildly depressing. Historically the town was one that the moment a business closed up shop a new one was waiting to get in. A long time ago there use to be four gas stations in town, a while back two stopped selling gas and focused on just auto repair, now, there are no gas stations in town. The Caretaker isn't sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, it is not likely it will cause people to buy less gas thus contribute less CO2 and other pollutants to the atmosphere, for gas is quite easy to come by in the area, but as a gauge of the local economy it is probably not such a good sign. Then again, the Caretaker hasn't spent any foot time in his home town in probably over two years so he really hasn't any idea what he is talking about. The one thing he knows is that he still can't figure out what the following sign means:
"You like our air, we like your gas, let's get together."
It was a sign at the outside air pump for customers to use at one of the gas stations in town that stopped selling gas and focused on just auto repair, when walking by this repair shop the Caretaker noticed it seemed to be thriving quite well, but the sign at the air pump was replaced with:
"Air pump shut off when shop is closed"
The Caretaker thought about stopping in to ask about the old sign, but needing to make his appointment with the dentist on time with he decided not to tarry. Another shuttered business was the old Steve's Sweet Shop, looking through the window the Caretaker noticed the back wall was gutted down to the studs. The establishment had long since ceased being Steve's Sweet Shop, but had gone through a number of incarnations throughout the years but always selling candy among many other things. When Steve owned it there was a soda fountain and bar to sit at for milk shakes etc. after he sold it the soda fountain was the first thing to go. From there on in it was more a place for cards and stationary but still always candy and bottled soda, etc. The one town steady that is still in business is Krauser's which is a convenience store. Prior to being Krauser's it was called Garden State Farms which as the Caretaker remembers it they had the coolest brown paper bags, well, the bags were pretty mundane but the print over the entire bag was a great example of Americana folk art--of sorts. The one thing that always amused the Caretaker was the sign for the store, in addition to stating the name of the shop it also listed a few items that it carried, one of which was Cottage Cheese, this always struck the Caretaker as funny, he was glad to see that the signage advertising Cottage Cheese was still up. The Caretaker is no real fan of cottage cheese (nor is he an enemy of cottage cheese either) but he really doesn't see what is all that appetizing about it, more over, he can't imagine someone passing through town and then upon noticing the sign deciding that they must stop in. It's not like the cottage cheese is homemade or even locally made, it's the same slop sold all across the country. Now back when the store was owned (or franchised) by Garden State Farms it could very well have been locally made cottage cheese. Is there such a thing as good versus bad cottage cheese? Isn't it the simplest of cheese to make? Now the Caretaker is probably wrong in this but his thinking is that cottage cheese is nothing more than old milk allowed to go sour. Many a person has made cottage cheese in their own refrigerator by leaving a carton of milk far in the back of the fridge far beyond its expiration date. Now perhaps the Caretaker's palate is nowhere near sophisticated enough to appreciate the nuances of this delicacy called cottage cheese and perhaps never will, but it does leave him to wonder why so many people like it. Now the Caretaker is thinking that the next time he is on the mainland he will have to buy some cottage cheese, however, he has a strong feeling that upon exiting the store he should taste it right there and then because his response will probably be the same as it was the last time he had cottage cheese (which was probably decades ago), after one spoonful:
"Yep, still sucks."
So instead of bringing it back to the Island only to have to bring it back to the mainland for disposal, or worst he ends up storing it in the back of the refrigerator for the rest of the Winter, where it will most likely go on to become Blue cheese, he'll be sure to try it out before bringing it back to the Island, then again, why bother wasting the money in the first place? It's cottage cheese, do they even advertise for it any more? I think the marketing firms have long since figured out that the cottage cheese market is pretty well saturated, if you don't like it you won't buy it no matter how flashy the spokespeople or the packaging. Is there such a thing as an "Artisan Cottage Cheese maker"? The following conversation has probably never happened on the face of the Earth:
"Hey, have you had the Hampton family's cottage cheese?"
"No, should I?"
"Oh most definitely."
"Really? Where do they sell it?"
"Just up the road, they sell it out of their cottage cheese cottage, it's outstanding, they make it in small batches, you really should try some."
"Small batches you say? Sounds delicious, I haven't had small batch cottage cheese since we went away on vacation for a month and forgot to throw out the milk before leaving."
"Oh I know what you mean, but they are artisans and the regular homemade stuff doesn't even remotely compare to the Hampton's small batch cottage cheese. It's so cottage-ee and cheese-ee."
"Mmm, my mouth is watering for some Hampton's cottage cheese right now. Do you think they're open? Do you think I can get some small batch cottage cheese right now?"
"No, they only sell it on the third Tuesday of the third week of the third month of the season."
"So only four times a year?"
"Well that's stupid, how do they expect to make a living?"
"They aren't interested in making a living from their cottage cheese, they're ARTISTS!!!"
"It's just cottage cheese, relax."
"Fie on you, FIE! FIE! FIE! I should have never told you about the Hampton's small batch cottage cheese. You simpleton, why would I have ever thought that you could ever truly appreciate the grandeur of flavor to be found in the Hampton's cottage cheese? WHY???"
"Rrrright, what were you thinking? Well, I think I'll be off now, ta ta."
Walking away, under breath: "what a cottage cheese freak-show."
If cottage cheese has ever elicited such a response (or anything remotely close to it) from anyone, the Caretaker would like to know about it. Thank you.
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