The Caretaker's Concern can be blamed on Wreck-Loose Island Publishing.
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WLIPublishing P.O. Box 1521 Bolton Landing, N.Y. 12814

Friday, August 6, 2010

TheCaretaker's Concern for 8/6/2010

TCC for 8/6/10:

Dawn, this morning, with moon:

When we last left off with the Caretaker he had "rescued" the floating raft, the following morning the Caretaker was up early and went into the main house to put his kettle on the stove to boil water for tea. Once the water was on the stove he prepared his tea basket with Victorian Earl Grey tea which is a tea he has gotten into as of late, he takes it with maybe a quarter teaspoon of sugar at most and heavy cream, it makes for quite a nice start to the morning. It's an Earl Grey tea with rose pedals, rosemary, and maybe also lavender, an Earl Grey with a bit of a kick to it, really nice with the heavy cream. While waiting for the water to boil the Caretaker returned to the Ghetto for his timer so he could leave his tea while it steeped. After obtaining his stop watch he left the Ghetto to return to the kitchen in main house, but while outside he heard someone call out:
To the Caretaker's ears the tone was such that the person was calling out for help, someone was definitely in distress. The call came from the North so the Caretaker dashed out to the North Boathouse dock and looked out to see what was the matter.

About half way between the Island and the hotel off in the distance a small boat was going in circles in the water, this was not good. The Caretaker's immediate conclusion was that the boat operator and possibly passengers had been thrown from the boat. This had the potential to be a very dangerous situation with the boat still running, someone could have been hit by the boat or worse the running propeller, or if not yet, could soon be hit. There was no time to hesitate.
But before the Caretaker could dash off to save the day he had to change out of his floor length hooded robe.

Although comfortable, it is not exactly good "rescue" attire, either he or those whom he would be trying to help could get caught up in his robe and maybe even make a bad situation worse. So he dashed back into the ghetto, threw off his robe and threw on some shorts, but they weren't tight around the waste, not too loose so as to fall down but the brim of his underwear was showing.

Where's my belt? Forget the belt, people could be drowning.

So off he went with his shorts in the style of some of the kids these days, it is not a style that the Caretaker has any appreciation for but figured there wasn't time to be too concerned with fashion decisions. So he raced out of the Ghetto towards the boat.

Wait! The tea kettle.

The Caretaker's teakettle is made of glass, he didn't know how long he would be off on this "rescue" mission, if left on the stove it could boil off the water and being glass perhaps shatter on the stove creating a potentially dangerous situation for the guests on the Island. So he dashed into the kitchen and took his tea kettle off the stove then dashed back outside to fire up the boat. He undid the boat whips, he undid the lines, he roared up the engine at high throttle so it wouldn't stall, pushed off the dock, dropped the throttle, put the boat in reverse, minded the rear boat whip to make sure it didn't get caught up in the canopy of the boat.

Safety is no accident and even though the Caretaker was desperate to get underway as soon as possible he knew that if he got caught up in the whips it would only delay him further so he decided it was worth the short time and effort to ensure that the boat cleared the whips. Once clear of the whips he brought the boat around and roared off to the circling boat. Upon reaching what he felt was a safe distance from the incident he immediately stopped the boat he was in and cut the engine. He saw the circling boat and two heads in the water, one on either side of the circling boat.
He called out, "how many in your party!?!"
The response was two. That meant everyone was accounted for, thus no one had drowned or was drowning. Both people in the water seemed to be treading water quite well.
The Caretaker called out again, "I'm going to get the two of you out of the water into my boat first, then we will catch your boat."
So the Caretaker started up the boat and slowly drove over to the closest person, set out the ladder on the back platform and helped the woman into the boat. She looked uninjured and said she wasn't hurt. He then drove over to the other person and helped him out of the water, he also wasn't hurt. Once confirming that they were okay the Caretaker then brought his boat over towards the circling boat. They were driving a small Boston Whaler, maybe about 14 feet long. The Caretaker's plan was to to slowly close in on the circle of the Whaler and come up along side of it and then catch the boat and hopefully hold on to it long enough to use the boat-hook to hit the throttle out of gear. So the Whaler is circling just above idle speed and the Caretaker is slowly pulling his boat in, just as he was about to make contact with the Whaler on what would have been its last turn, the Whaler ran out of gas. That obviously made things easier with regards to catching their boat.

However, the Caretaker had a few concerns, will they need a tow and where to? More importantly, if they don't need a tow should they be allowed to carry on their way? If they turned out to be locals who just made a dumb move the Caretaker would not have a problem with them continuing on their merry way if they had an additional fuel tank. If they were new to the Lake and not too familiar with motorboats and fell out of the boat because they're idiots the Caretaker would probably insist that they return to where they came from. The Caretaker was not interested in a confrontation but he also didn't want to have to go rescue these people again. If it came down to it he figured if they were incompetent idiots who insisted on keeping on he would call Lake Patrol and report the incident so at least they could then be on the watch for these fools.
Turns out these two hapless boaters were long standing locals to the Lake and had been boating any number of times and they did have an additional fuel tank. They were going up to Glen Island to obtain a day use permit for one of the public islands. As they told it, the two of them managed to fall out of their boat in order to save a ceramic coffee cup that went overboard. It was a mother and child. The mother was driving, the child was around 12. She took her hands off the wheel to reach for the coffee cup not realizing (or forgetting) that the moment she took her hands of the wheel the boat would immediately pull hard right and at the speed they were going the boat turned but their bodies' inertia kept going straight, so out the boat they went.

"Where you guys coming from?"
"Over on _____ shore."
"Oh okay, I'm from the Island, where abouts on _____ shore are you from?"
"The very South end."
"Oh okay, I know your cousins _____"
"Well, huh, everybody knows them."

What exactly does that mean? Should I be offended?

The Caretaker decided to not take it one way or the other, he figured that the woman was quite chagrined for making a dumb move and getting her and her child thrown out of the boat. Anyway, after making sure the two hapless boaters were back in their boat and were able to get it to start he left them to carry on their merry way. He then started the boat he was in and returned back to the Island to start his tea water boiling again.

Enough with the rescues already. Is this random or am I becoming a magnet for this stuff?

For the most part that was the last of the rescues, there was a very minor incident a week or so later involving a child and a bicycle but nothing too serious. Although, now that he thinks about it, there was another incident that the Caretaker was witness to a month or so ago but other than being a witness he had no involvement with it, that is sort of an interesting story but will have to wait for another time.

To protect the innocent the Caretaker left out the home location and names of the hapless boaters.

And of course, ever deeper into the bizarre-oh mind of the Caretaker.
His lack of social skills really shouldn't come as such a surprise to him, back during his second Winter here on the Island he noticed a peculiar impact his solitude was having on his ability to communicate with others while on the mainland. Whilst by himself on the Island the Caretaker at most thinks out loud on occasion, he does not really talk out loud to himself and he certainly doesn't argue out loud with himself, he mostly goes about his day not verbalizing his thoughts. Other than the occasional phone call and the sound of the radio he will often go as long as a week, sometimes longer, not engaging in a conversation with people or hearing other people's voices. When he does go to town in the Winter and interacts with them he notices that he has difficulty forming his sentences, his speech is delayed a bit at times, it's almost as if he has to remind himself how to form his thoughts to people's questions and conversations, and then he has to focus on putting his thoughts into words. It is always a little odd at first when it happens and sometimes even frustrating but he did notice that it eventually goes away if he interacts with people long enough. This diminishment of speaking skills has happened every Winter since the second Winter of living here year round on the Island. The first Winter was so mild that it was a decidedly non-Winter Winter allowing the Caretaker to maintain quite a bit of contact with people and being a rather non-Winter Winter and so very boring, it's what prompted him to do second Winter on the Island.

Before there was the blog the Caretaker sent out posts via e-mail, the following is from the Caretaker's second winter on the Island:

Island Ice Report for 4/4/07:

Lake Temperature: 36 F

Sorry for the hiatus on the writing part of the Island Ice Reports but the Caretaker has been busy these past few days getting some of his photography together for publication. The night the Caretaker's friend M. stopped in to visit, they had some drinks at the bar at the Lakeside and wound up sitting next to The Editor and Publisher of The Lake George Mirror and his wife. M. and the Caretaker ended up having a bit of a conversation with the two of them. The LGM it is a local paper here, that, as you can imagine from the title, focuses on the Lake. At one point our conversation with the Editor and his wife petered out, not too long after that he made the rounds in the restaurant saying hello to the people he knew. While doing this he spoke to the town librarian, apparently she had mentioned to him that I live on an island during the winter, and I think she suggested that my experiences might make for a "good" story for the paper. At some point after that the Editor approached me about an interview and expressed an interest in using some of my photography to help illustrate the article. I agreed, and gave him my phone number to call me. A week went by and I heard nothing from him. I was mildly concerned that the interview would end up not taking place in time for the next edition of the paper because I would be Island bound (due to ice-out). I thought about contacting him myself but decided to let it rest for the time being. So, this past Sunday, I was on the main-land for a few errands and before returning to the Island I decided I would like to have a cup of coffee, who should I happen to run into at the local convenience store? The Editor. We spoke a bit and agreed to do the interview the next day, Monday, at noon. So I got my coffee and wasted no time getting back to the Island, knowing that my photography was largely unorganized it would take me some time to sort through it to find some photos that would be of interest to him for his paper. Late Sunday night I finished up putting together a disk of some of my digital photos for the following day's interview. Monday noon comes, I meet with the Editor, we do the interview, he looks at some of the photos on the disk and then expresses his concern that the digital photos may not be able to blow up big enough for the cover. For inside the paper they will be fine, but for the cover there might be a problem, and suggests that if I have any film prints that I should bring them in because they shouldn't be a problem to enlarge for the cover. So, most all of Tuesday was spent going through my prints from last year's ice out, and putting together some other digital photos that might work for him, basically I wanted to provide him with as many options as possible to increase my chances of getting the cover of the paper. The cover of the Lake George Mirror has it's header at the top and the cover photograph usually covers the rest of the page, much like most tabloid style newspapers such as the NY Post. Also, it is the only photo in the paper that is color, the photos inside the paper are black and white, which is okay as far as the content and context of my photographs, but obviously much of the vividness will be lost so having a color photo on the cover will be rather beneficial in more ways than one.
So I must apologize to all of you for not taking the time to respond to your recent e-mails but I have been busy working to meet two deadlines, the paper's and the ice. The travel on the ice is getting more and more precarious these days, so the sooner I was able to get the materials to the Editor the better. Coming back to the Island today, after dropping off another disk and some prints for the paper, I needed to use a 12 foot 2 x 4 to get on to the ice, and getting from the ice to the Island required some rather interesting "ballet" moves. The good news is that the Editor has everything in hand and if all goes well one of my photos will make the cover, the funny thing is that chances are I won't be able to see it or read the article until after ice-out. The paper comes out next Wednesday and given the current ice conditions and the weather forecast the ice is only going to get thinner and thinner. Some people have expressed an interest in my reserving a copy for them, should anyone else be interested please let me know sooner than later. The Editor said he will be able to hold them for me until after I get off the Island to pick them up.
In conclusion, what is the lesson from the above account? Both drinking at bars and drinking coffee are good for the career--good thing I'm The Caretaker, with the liver of ten men, faster than a stumbling drunk, able to leap ice faults in a single bound...
"What was that?"
"It looks like a chocolate mess?"
"No, it's the Caretaker."

Now, on to other subjects, April Fool's my friend's, I hope you all got a big laugh out of the IIR's from this past Saturday and Sunday, I know I did. In fact, from some of the comments about it, I'm laughing about it now. With regards to the Lollipop/Beer Can distribution scheme the comments were all over the place from likening me to a pedophile to being one of the luckiest guys on Earth for not being thrown in jail. Oh, how I laughed. Well, as we now all know, everything ended well. The Caretaker is all sorts of things to be sure, but taping lollipops to beer cans to hand out to school kids? That's disturbed, well, the Caretaker is disturbed but he's not that disturbed. Ah, then there was the April Fool's Day swim, that one not only prompted e-mails, but one person was unfortunate enough to have their computer freeze up on them and so was only able to read up until the part where I was smelling the fish guts, not being able to read how the story turned out, they called me quite concerned for my well being. Eventually while on the phone with this person their computer started working again and so they were able to finish reading it, the Caretaker laughed then and he's laughing now. Seriously though, the Caretaker greatly appreciates the concern expressed by all of you, I do hope none are upset, and that in the end you all were able to have a good laugh. For any of you who may be bitter about it, I will leave you with this comment by S.:
" Truly one of the best April Fool's jokes ever! I am a fool - and proud of it! It seems I am in good company . . ."

In response to two questions put forth by the B. Family, the Volume Libraries were obtained from a woman who was going door to door selling them, they were purchased for me by my mother back when I was 10 or 12 years old or so, they still come in handy once in a while. As for a recipe from the Joy of Cooking? The potato leek soup is quite good, and so too the waffles--best recipe I've found so far. The Caretaker works with both the 1975 edition of the Joy and the 1997 Joy, some of the new versions (i.e. "healthier") recipes aren't as good as the old versions and vice versa. If you want the Caretaker's opinion no kitchen should be without at least one edition, if not both, of the Joy of Cooking. There could very well be a more recent edition but the Caretaker hasn't looked for it so he wouldn't know. Also, there is one other very good cook book to have, The James Beard Cookbook, this is also very handy, very good at covering the basics. Not the best index, but other than that a very good cookbook. The Caretaker is thinking of putting together a cookbook of his own, in it you would find such recipes as: "Condiment Sandwich", or, "Peanut butter & Marshmallow Peeps sandwich", and of course there would be all sorts of handy tips such as the best way to grill a steak to perfection, which isn't all that hard to do. Accounting for the thickness of your steak, the level of heat you are cooking on, distance from heat, and if the bone is in or out, all of which will impact the time your steak should be on the grill, just follow these simple steps:
1) Get grill/cooking surface to temperature.
2) Lay steak on grill using tongs or large spatula, do not pierce steak with fork, never ever pierce steak with fork. You don't like to be poked with a fork, neither does a steak, well, not until after it has been laid on a cutting board.
3) Once steak is on grill set timer to specified amount of cook time, once this is done walk away from the grill, don't touch the steak until it is ready to be flipped. The more you touch the steak by moving it, poking it, flipping it more than once, dropping it on the ground, etc. the tougher your steak will come out.
Cook time for 1 1/2 inch steak is roughly 4 to 5 minutes a side for rare, remember that the factors stated above will lengthen or shorten these times. Once the time has elapsed flip the steak, the Caretaker uses a large spatula for fish to flip his steaks, what you are trying to do is prevent the steak from getting pierced because if you do that all the blood will run out and thus you get a dry steak. So, after flipping it you walk away from the grill for 4 to 5 minutes and then remove the steak from the grill to a cutting board for carving or plate for serving. For flare-ups use water, don't move the steak around on the grill. If you want the steak cooked more, leave it on for longer, the Caretaker prefers his steak just above Rare, the moment when the meat has just firmed up after Rare is how he likes it best. If you don't poke your steak it will seal in all the blood so when you carve it you will have plenty of meat juice to pour over your steak and potatoes, or rice or what have you, and who doesn't like meat juice? I suppose all you Vegetarians out there don't like meat juice, if you're interested the Caretaker has a great recipe for TVP to use as burrito filling, the Caretaker has served it to carnivore's and they never noticed that it wasn't meat, in fact, they have usually wanted the recipe. Alas, often times when they find out that there isn't any meat in it they freak-out thinking they're going to get in trouble with their carnivore friends. So if you want my TVP recipe for burritos just let me know, I've also got a great recipe for sausages made from soybeans that is pretty darn good too, make patties, fry'em up in a bit of canola or olive oil, put'em on a bun with whatever other toppings you want and you're in business.

Lastly, there have been a number of comments about my recent photos, no I have not taken a photography class, but I will share with you my "technique", if it can be called that.
Step One, know your equipment inside and out, know what it can do and what it can't do.
Step Two, take lots and lots of photos.
For everyone of the photos I send out, I've taken at least 4 to 6 photos from the exact same perspective, continually adjusting the settings on the camera for each shot, some with flash, some with out, day time setting, night time setting, etc. After that I'll take some more shots after having moved the camera a bit to change the perspective. Back when film was the only option, this method was rather expensive, now a days with digital you can shoot all you want and it doesn't cost a dime. The more you do this the more experience you will be with your camera and the less and less shots you will have to take in order to get "the one".
Step Three, for outside shots, find a good location and then return to it. For example, if I lived in Hoboken, I would go to the campus of Steven's Tech where there is an overlook providing a view of the Hudson river and Manhattan. I would go there at Sunrise and at Sunset, both times of day stand a good chance of providing a good shot, you'd be looking for the colors of sunrise and sunset so you keep going back until you get "the shot". If while there and the conditions are right, take lots of photos continually making adjustments to your camera.
On monday when I went to the mainland for the newspaper interview I had hoped to get to town early enough to do a load of laundry before the interview, that didn't happen, I got in too late to do laundry but still had some time to kill. So, having brought my camera I went up to the Northwest Bay Falls and took some photos, of the total shots taken roughly 6 to 8 came out "pretty good", how many photos did I take that day over the course of about an hour? Almost 200, and that's no April Fool's.
There are a total of 6 photos attached to this e-mail, the one's numbered 1 to 3 are the result of cropping and various "enhancements", photo #1 is the original, #2 is cropped and was "enhanced" in iPhoto, #3 was cropped and "enhanced" in Photoshop. Do any of them work? I suppose that all depends on what you see. The point here is that some times a photo on a whole may not work as well as just a part of it and so you crop.
Anyway, between the steak lesson and the photo lesson I'm sure I've bored you all well enough, however, should you have any other questions I'd be more than happy to share with you whatever I know. Please keep in mind that I may still have to be on hiatus for tomorrow so I may not be able to respond right away. I have to get my pound of flesh to the government, I'm hoping I can take care of it via e-file. Taxes. Talk about good money after bad. Between both the Corrupt-icans and the Demi-crooks we're all getting the short end of the stick.

--The Caretaker

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