Scruffus

Scruffus
Location
St. Thomas, USVI
Bio
Seashell picker, coconut thief, beach connoisseur, food critic, terrorizer of the harbor, lizard hospital supervisor, conjurer of sunrises, and scourge of the seas.

MY RECENT POSTS

SEPTEMBER 23, 2011 12:28AM

Roses: A Visual Tour of Downmarket Retail

If you've lived in the south anytime in the last few decades, you are likely familiar with the Roses department store chain. I haven't been to a Roses for at least 20 years. The department store I remember from my youth was bright, clean, and well-stocked. The linoleum floor shined

Read full post »
AUGUST 31, 2011 11:48PM

How a Hoarder Prepares for a Hurricane

Fortuitously, I happened to be in town for the hurricane, since Grandpa lives alone. Grandpa, about to turn 88 in a few weeks, still lives in a sprawling and rapidly decaying four-bedroom, three-bathroom, colonial-style home on four overgrown acres at the end of a dirt lane, a private road largely ig… Read full post »

In fifteen minutes, the landlord is shutting off the generator. The power went out in the early morning hours shortly after the first band of rain and wind swept across Cruz Bay in St. John and began battering St. Thomas. I woke up because my ceiling fan was off and I… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 14, 2010 10:34PM

When Your Vacation Ends With a Death

There is a rising presence of gangs and violence in the Virgin Islands. While Mexico gets much of the press for the violence incurred by the drug cartels, the Caribbean is slowly catching up. 

Around the end of June, there was a daytime shooting at K-Mart. A teenaged man walked up… Read full post »

JANUARY 17, 2010 4:11PM

Rastafari Agricultural Fair

I didn't know much about Rastafari lifestyle before yesterday. On the mainland, there were very few to be exposed to. Here on St. Thomas, there is a large farming community of Rastafarians.

Rain poured sporadically this weekend during the 13th annual Rastafari Agricultural and Cultural Food Fair. Thi… Read full post »

JANUARY 9, 2010 9:30PM

Get Your Warm Weather Fix Here

Between the new job and the family arriving, there hasn't been much time for writing. Standing in line at the bank, I get to watch the television suspended from the ceiling, which perpetually broadcasts news from the mainland. Apparently it is cold there, very cold, iguanas falling from the trees in… Read full post »

DECEMBER 15, 2009 7:31PM

Coconuts

The smell of rainfall filled my modest efficiency. The sun was slowly making its way up and light was beginning to pour through the shutters. I stirred in my bed, my makeshift fan blowing barely-cool air across my skin. I looked out the window to see majestic clouds bathed in the… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 17, 2009 4:19PM

Week One in St. Thomas

I could see the silhouette of a lizard on my window screen. Thinking I’d take a picture, I got close enough to see the lizard was inside the kitchen, not on the outside like I assumed. With a quick leap, he flew eight inches to the wall, stuck fast and thenRead full post »

OCTOBER 18, 2009 8:57PM

One Way Ticket

In three weeks, I'm heading out with a one way ticket to the Virgin Islands. My new job awaits me and I have yet to figure out transportation or housing. I have a hotel and a rent-a-car for the first few days. After that, I'm on my own. 

 

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 … Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 19, 2009 8:44PM

Sit Down, Shut Up!

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This dinghy about summed up my job training in St. Croix. Sit down, shut up and enjoy the ride. In order to assimilate to island life, concessions have to be made. This isn't the states. In preparation to move my family to St. Thomas, I spent three weeks training/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 3, 2009 9:26PM

"Be Careful, Sweetheart!"

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Christiansted Harbor as Tropical Depression Erika approaches 

Pink and purple colors lit up the eastern sky for an instant this evening as the sun set on Christiansted, St. Croix. The last couple of days, the bars have had a constant stream of The Weather Channel instead of n… Read full post »

AUGUST 16, 2009 7:50PM

Best Job Interview Ever!

Boarding the plane to St. Thomas, I had a feeling I'd say yes. There was something sweeping and grand about the way I'd always dreamed of living on an island and working in a field connected to the water, and now I had the chance to do both. When I

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Editor’s Pick
JUNE 25, 2009 12:16AM

About That Litter of Kittens You Dumped

So you ended up with a surprise litter of kittens and you didn't know what to do. You didn't expect your cat to get pregnant but it all happened so fast and placing the kittens in good homes wasn't as easy as you thought. You didn't like the idea of taking… Read full post »

JUNE 2, 2009 8:05PM

A Career-burger in Paradise

The other month, I attended a meeting for USEPA Region 2, which includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Driving up the Turnpike, I wasn't expecting much excitement. Generally these meetings cover federal drinking water policy and it can be a struggle to pay attention,… Read full post »

MAY 7, 2009 11:42PM

Robert Byrd

Routines are curious things. Every weekday, I get up and perform the same rituals before heading off to work. I stumble to the bathroom, shower, get dressed, get my son his breakfast, pack his lunch, feed the fish, feed the birds, gather my things and leave. Every day is seems to… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 15, 2009 6:43PM

Tea Party on the Delaware

Trenton, NJ

 Tea Party. April 15, 2009.

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The shining gold dome of the statehouse belies the severe financial straits our state and citizens have found themselves in. As residents of New Jersey, we are some of the most heavily taxed people in the United States. Many… Read full post »

The Battle of Gettysburg lasted three days, from July 1-3, 1863. Unintentional and unplanned, it cost Confederate troops their momentum and afforded the Union a decisive victory. Both sides suffered heavy casualties, with the caravan of Confederate wounded stretching on for 17 miles.

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 In the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, a pair of nesting bald eagles are on live video feed all day and night. The Eagle Cam is wildly addictive to watch. My step-dad turned me on to watching the Eagle Cam and I've gotten everyone at work checking in daily on the… Read full post »
MARCH 23, 2009 8:20PM

Spring Thaw in Pennsylvania

 

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Meditating figure facing East. 

 I woke in the morning to find sunlight streaming through the window into an avocado green room with exposed beams. We had driven all night to find these people, living off of a dirt road in a town not far from the New York… Read full post »

MARCH 23, 2009 6:24PM

Can't Get Hired? Hire Yourself.

With the economy in a slump and news outlets serving up stories of former six-figure executives now delivering pizzas for $7.15 an hour, workers facing lay-offs or furloughs, and bleak prospects for those clinging to their jobs. For those lucky enough to retain their jobs, wage freezes, reductions in… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 5, 2009 7:42PM

Career Fair

"What is your name and what career do you represent?"

"My name is Scruffus and I'm a chemist."

 "List three duties of your job."

"I analyze samples, make reagents, and keep records." 

"What is the level of education needed for this job?"

"Bachelor's degree."

"What class in high school helpe… Read full post »

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The ferris wheel stands still and the only sounds are those of wind and waves on most February mornings at the boardwalks of New Jersey. The sky is an icy grey and the smell of coconut tanning lotion cannot be had. 

 

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But the bars are open and the… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 20, 2009 11:41PM

Saving Money At Work

Part of the job of the chemist is figuring out how to do things quicker and cheaper. Saving money is a big part of chemistry. Today, I was working on a research project that would save time on an approved method for water analysis. 

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The approved method involves two precipitates… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 9, 2009 10:05PM

Happy Birthday Karen!

 Happy Birthday Karen! Hope your day is as bright and special as you are!

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Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 3, 2009 10:39PM

My Son, The Pagan

"Mom, what's a pagan?", my son asked when I walked in the door from work yesterday. I thought he was studying something in history. Trying to give my best off-the-cuff definition of a pagan, I explained that it was a broad term used to describe people who were non-Christians. 

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When… Read full post »