Pro Tip For Living In Southwest Florida

…or for that matter just about anyplace south of Tennessee probably although that far north the issue would be a different critter. On the other hand…it also applies for Central or South America as well as Africa and most other places around the world…especially Aussieland because everybody knows that everything there wants to kill you. (Editors note: If ya don’t believe me on that…check out
shark attack
most deadly
even more deadly
 or even the
land of nope
. It’s no wonder Aussies drink so much.) But then…probably Alaska, Siberia, northern Canuckistan, and out in the ocean as well…but again different critters.

And yeah…almost a month between posts and then twice in 3 days…deal with it.

We journeyed up to Sarasota yesterday for the opening concert in the Sarasota Symphony Masterworks series which we have season tickets to. We did move to better seats this year closer to both the stage and to the exit for making a quicker exit not requiring going down stairs with limited visibility with Connie in high heels. She’s happy because closer to the stage means she can see the soloist and orchestra members and make out facial expressions. The concert itself was pretty darned spectacular…as usual for the first one the orchestra played and the audience sang the Star Spangled Banner…Connie did her usual professional vocal coach trained thing with full volume, descant and all the normal trills and fanfare…she got 3 compliments from the ladies in front of us. 

The highlight of the program was the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto by a 26 year old named Blake Pouliot. Based on his bio in the program we thought he was one of the second tier soloists…but he was hands down the best violin soloist we’ve heard since Joshua Bell years back. He was clearly feeling the music…tapping his heels in time with the orchestra parts and singing to himself (silently probably but we could read his lips) to the music. Truly excellent performance of a concerto with a lot of fireworks in it…it was actually declared to be “unplayable” by the original violinist it was dedicated to. Fortunately…others differed in opinion and it’s a great showpiece today of soloist technique, artistry, and fireworks.

That was followed up in the second half with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition…the original piece was a piano composition composed after Mussorgsky attended a posthumous exhibition of paintings by his friend Viktor Hartmann. There’s a Promenade section that opens the piece and evokes walking into the exhibition then a series of 10 paintings by Hartmann are depicted in sound with sketches of the Promenade as if one was walking through the exhibition hall. This is one of Connie’s favorite pieces and she was really happy with the way it turned out…especially the Great Gates of Kiev at the end of the piece. She likes it to be suitably majestic…neither too fast or too dirge like…with dramatic reductions in tempo…but only in the places she wants them. 

After the concert we stopped by Longhorn Steak House for our usual dinner after the afternoon concert and happened to sit next to the head of public relations for the orchestra and her husband…we had a nice chat with them while eating.

Then an hour plus ride home and we were still back just about 1900 for the evening.

So…the pro tip.

The other day…right after my last post by an hour or so…we noticed this Great Egret over across the pond out back of the lanai.

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In order to understand the Pro Tip© I’ll need to do a little setup…so here’s a shot towards where it was sitting from right inside our lanai.

IMG 3908

Neil was standing about 3 or 4 feet from the back screen of the lanai and the exit door is to his left. The Great Egret was sitting in the tree just above the white sign across the other side and about 8 or 10 feet to the left. From the screen on our lanai straight down to the edge of the pond is about 15 feet.

So Neil snuck out the left side lanai door and keeping the tree to the left of the out the lanai shot above between him and the bird snuck over next to the palm grass thing around the tree and got a couple of insurance shots…ya know, you get one from farther away and then take more as you close in so that you don’t miss the opportunity if it gets skittish and flies away. After getting those shots…he decided to walk around the front of the tree between the tree and the lanai and down to the edge of the water to get a slightly closer shot…his destination was right between those two clumps of weeds you see just about at the center of the out the lanai shot. He was watching the bird in case it flew so he could grab more shots as it departed and got to within about 8 or 10 feet of the water when he spotted this.

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Yep…a little gator about 3 feet long or so and he didn’t see it until he was probably 6 or 8 feet from it. We’ve never…ever…seen one of the alligators out of the water on our side of the pond. They frequently patrol in the water near the bank on our side but I think they’ve figured out that people don’t go on the other side of the pond…it’s illegal to do that but the gator just knows they don’t go there. This little guy is probably only a few years old and I guess he didna’ learn that yet.

He quickly backtracked…

So the Pro Tip©…watch where you’re going while you’re sneaking into a better photo position. Depending on where you are…there could be gators, water moccasins, rattlesnakes, lions, tigers or what have you that ya just might be getting too close too. Down in Aussieland…it’s all of the above plus more since almost all of the wildlife and many of the plants there just want to kill you.

He wandered around in a semi circle around the li’l gator and got a couple more shots…it was clearly watching him closely but wasn’t concerned enough to move, didn’t feel threatened enough to defend itself, and clearly recognized that trying to eat Neil would have been biting off more than it could chew.

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He doesn’t walk out there without shoes on and does watch for snakes…and did in this instance as well…but the gator wasn’t really visible until you sort of got over the crest of the bank…it was lying there about 2 or 3 feet out of the water right above the two clumps of grass at center of the out the lanai shot above.

Interesting things found on the net.

It’s a bit past Halloween but here’s one on that theme.


And in recognition of Falling Back last night as we exited Daylight Savings Time.

Resetting the clocks at Stonehenge.


I think there’s a Simon and Garfunkel tune that goes with this.


Random other stuff.






Remembering William Shatner’s so called trip to space a week or three back…Neil saw an edited shot of him and his three cremates and 3 of them were in red shirts while Shatner had a gold one. The thing is…red shirts on Star Trek were doomed to be killed…any other color shirt and you survived.


Three Little Pigs family portraits.


And finally…the second scariest dinosaur…I can’t tell you the scariest one as that would take this into the non PG category…but if you ask in the comments I might tell ya since those are a bit more work for blog viewers to see.



About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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