A few years ago, one of my readers bought me a Nikon CoolPix 8700 camera -- with three batteries and three 512 MB SanDisks. It had all sorts of functions, including optical and digital zoom and a video.
I had a lot of fun with that camera, and actually earned a lot of money at the local newspapers (well, "lot" in the mind of a freelance artist/writer). But digitals only have so much life, and the day I took the camera down to the Ozette Dig, the slamming rain killed the function switch, so I lost my video capability.
I missed that video. It had allowed me to post things like Navajo Frybread and Clallam Bay Dragon Dance. I made a baseball coach stop bellowing like a wanna-be drill-sergeant at a twelve-year-old girl pitcher, when he saw me fiddling with the camera and watching him with intent (damn; I wish he'd never seen me, or I'd have posted that too). But it made him nervous of camera, and I hope made him remember it's just a game. Maybe the girl has more fun at the games now. I can only hope.
(This all hooks in with my Irish blood; the Irish are congenitally unable to resist a practical joke, especially one they walk off from and never see happen. Imagining what happened is almost more fun.)
The Nikon's quality was dying, too, which is the fate of digitals, even when I used new disks. So I bit the bullet and went looking for a camera. The first thing to do was research it on the web. Buying always takes me a long time, so before I'd bought a camera off the web I happened to get near a Radio Shack.
Looking over their offering, I found the Canon Powershot A560. Video, sighting apeture (to save LCD battery), DIGITAL zoom (not optical). AND pretty darn good price(Well, I could have gotten a better price on the 'net, but what the hell).
Doesn't gobble up its battery. I bought a little car charger and a house charger for the double AA nicads, to go with it. Neat!
While I was uploading photos at the PDN, one of the photojournalists had to come look at it (toys toys toys) and he said, Oh, yeah, that's a good one for the
And I'm dangerous again. As in: a thin, dirty dog got out day before yesterday and came running to our house.
She was wearing a collar with a brass lable. I found her owner. Big fat white guy. As we were dealing with the dog, his daughter came out, with a big chunk of chocolate ice cream in one hand. So I know there's no food shortage, there.
Her owner said, "She's always getting off her leash, and she won't stay in her kennel." (Would he?) He said she wouldn't hunt -- unlike the other three dogs he was keeping in the same conditions.
I said he should post a photo at the post office, to find her a home. He asked if I'd do that, or could I help him find her a home? At the time, since we am animal saturated, and our rule is "We don't take in anything with a human attached," I told him about the Humane Society, etc. He dragged her off, and I went back to my life.
The next morning, we get a freak April hailstorm and sn0wstorm. That afternoon, I see the dog leashed to her kennel, staring at me. That was IT. I went and got my camera. I knocked on all the guy's doors. Nobody home. So I took the pictures and emailed them to a local woman (ex-editor) who helps dogs. And the guy's boss -- who happens to be in local, highly visible government, I will not say where.
That evening he's at the door, asking for help, because he's got his boss's email. I tell him I called the Humane Society, and they're having no problem giving away dogs right now. But he'll have to drive the 100-mile round trip to get Cricket -- he momentarily forgot her name, by the way -- to get her there. Turns out she's not fixed, either (Puppy-milling for hound-hunting is huge up here. Kind of like the Bremerton Purebreds they sell down at the 11th Avenue Safeway in Kitsap County).
He makes out he's a good guy and that he "didn't do what a lot of hound hunters would have done with her when she got stuck at the bottom of a gully." Like I don't know what these Human-Dominion-Over-The-Earth types will do to solve ANY animal problems (And how come hound-hunting is so popular with Southerners? Do they miss the Good Old Days when the cougars had two legs and no hair?). They always fail to notice that when a cougar hits a neighborhood, the woods next door have been clearcut (Fun with eyeballs: watch the orbs of a timber worker wobble when you start asking him about "working forests" and whether or not they lead to species extinction. They've got all the answers -- but those eyeballs practically spin).
THIS morning, the Friends of Forks Animals are on the horn with me, saying they've got a hound rescue in another part of the state wants the dog. They got the other photo from the ex-editor. So I point 'em at him. All he's got to do is drive the dog there.
Now I was very nice when dealing with him -- these guys shy like deer, and are extremely defensive about their own bad behavior. So I hope the woman who saw the photo -- and who is on the edge of ballistic -- doesn't go off on him so he takes it out on the dog.
It's a 50/50 proposition: too horrible, and it causes bad things. Not horrible enough, and nobody will get off their butts.
Cross your fingers it's the best half of the 50. But years ago I turned away a dog I later realized was stray and starving -- and I'll be goddamned if a dog that EVER looks at me like that again is going to be let sit hungry in the snow.
If there's a hell for anybody, THAT would do it for me.