Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cathead Figurehead

Eggbert returned from the shop feeling better than James Brown. In celebration I affixed this mini-sculpture to his prow.

Port side....

We are Churmin if you pleez. We are Churmin if you DON't pleeze.

Stahrb'rd view...

The juandiced wink...or wince

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ritzler's Pecans & The Nutcracker

Trundling northward just before Thanksgiving I passed through Arrey and Derry, New Mexico; both hamlets with chili and pecan orchards. Visioning a pecan pie, I pulled into a small orchard that appeared to be a family affair. 

Sharon & Ray Ritzler were beginning to harvest their crop of pecans. Below is Ray's 1974 shaker...completely rebuilt except for the paint.

The tree goes between the tines and is delicately shaken. 

The nuts fall to the ground where they are swept out of the way of the shaker's wheels by "whiskers." 

A harvester that is basically a large vacuum cleaner, picks up the nuts and deposits them into a trailer. 

After completing my purchase, I was sent to the Nutcracker to get my nuts cleaned. While there are a lot of jokes around nut cleaning, the operation is, in fact, a hand job.

The nuts are broken and shelled by machine, but the final cleaning is done by hand. Although the women refused to let their faces be photographed, it was evident from the camaraderie that this was a sophisticated operation.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rashaad Newsome

When in town I surf the web for all the things I've read about. It was on that I found an interview with Mr. Newsome. His website includes this incredible performance of Shades Composition. Youtube has other offerings.

You might also enjoy the work of Mike Cloud. This link is to some of his 2008 work.

Kofa Wildlife Refuge

Over 660,000 acres of which more than 550k is wilderness offers a plethora of exploration opportunities.

There are the remains of a CCC built campground, Crystal Hill (such original naming!) where quartz crystals still abide and decent expanses of untrammeled desert. The biggest drawback is the frequent buzz of jets, helicopters and small planes which, out here, elevates their obscenity to physical violation. And they call this wilderness. 

But this is my kind of campground: so overgrown it's only recognizable when seen from above. The individual campsite trailer-dumps have been diaphrammed with steel plate, the barbeque posts have been torched off at ground-level and the pink agglomerate, CCC-crafted pylons that protected the margins of each site are obscured by new growth. And not a picnic table or another person in sight.

With Eggbert's new offroad tires giving him an increased level of confidence, we took the 4-wheel road toward Scott's Well and Juniper Spring. He leaped the arroyos with ease and clambered over the steep spots with aplomb. But as I sat enjoying the Five-o'clock-martini, I smelt the odour of gasoline and the next morning discovered a leak. We hastened into town for repairs and are enjoying a Thanksgiving layover that will include the Recycle Santa Fe Art Show December 5-7.

Sunset's tender light on the Livingston Hills. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sweet Pie a.k.a. Paul Winer

Thanks to the internet, Paul Winer is once again famous.

In the video below he recounts how he broke up a fight between two motorcycle gangs (3:52). 

His story is succinctly told on the blog A Year On The Road.

Mr. Winer is also a talented artist. 

But he's best known for originating the aphorism: Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. It's the chorus of his greatest hit. My favorites are My Nothing and a song written for his daughter who died when she was 8 1/2. "In an effort to live with what you never lose...your blues, you have to lift up." 

(Article abt annual fundraiser for Celia's Rainbow Gardens and other social services.)

He's on the left, formally attired (in a jacket) for our interview. Nov 17 was a bit cool.

Above is the REAL star....Felicia.

Yarnell, Arizona

Yarnell was in the news last year when 19 firefighters died. Suzan and I stopped for coffee after the Shooting Place (see 11/26/14) on our Mooseway to Quartzsite.

The Espresso place is two doors west of the grocery, which is closed. Owned by Jeff and his wife, the ambiance is intimate, welcoming and includes wifi. They also have a small store and she has a well-appointed and beautifully decorated salon for cutting hair. 

Delbert, an alcoholic musician, was volunteering in the Espresso bar. He'd been dry for four months and was putting together a January fundraiser for a widow whose husband was killed in the fire.

Next door is the Painted Lizard, 

a nice antique/gifts/art emporium where Suzan found an incense burner at a very affordable price. There was also an interesting painting of Koshares by Al Bahe for $4,999.00.

The Cornerstone Bakery 

is on the south (left going toward Quartzsite) side of the highway at the west end of town. It came highly recommended, but it was past time to make camp as we trundled out of town so it was "saved" for next time.

The Shooting Place

It was getting late on Nov 15 as we pulled out of Prescott. The road wound through the mountains, campspots tucked into steep-sided valleys. They'd be inviting if you've no 'clinations tuh claustrophobia AND aren't driving anything bigger than a pickup.

It was near dark as we made camp on Forest Rd 71 a few miles above Wilhoit. (Google maps shows 72 but not 71. We camped at what I surmise was Wilhoit Spring but Maps shows the spring on FR 72. The one we were on was clearly signed as FR 71. It's abt a mile N of FR 72.)

Wilhoit Spring (dry) is 50 feet to the left

The tender light of morning (above) brought a train of trucks, all driven by middle-aged white guys. Along about the fifth one my curiosity inspired me to ask if there was a party. "Ain't no party," he said, "It's a practical pistol shooting competition. There'll be over 200 guys here in a little while." 

A crack shot with a .357, I allowed as how I could take his nose off at 20 feet and inquired if it was open to the public. He grinned and invited me to come on down.

Several more went by for a total of maybe 20. One or two had someone riding shotgun but most were by themselves; hardly 200. 

We stopped at the overlook to observe the smog that blankets the area for miles around Phoenix. Do you suppose word has gotten around and that's why folks from around the world no longer come here?

For documentation purposes...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Gallery In Williams

Several weeks ago three artists at The Gallery in Williams (Arizona, that is) granted interviews. Now, finally, they can be seen on Youtube. Please enjoy videos of 

Don Nord...

....a cabinet maker who's taken his skills to another level. He combines his love of woodworking with turbine blades from helicopters that fly over the Grand Canyon, railroad spikes from the Grand Canyon Railroad, and gears, piston rods and such from automobiles. 

Amy S. Martin... a rower with the Arizona Department of Fish & Wildlife. She rows on Colorado River trips and photographs as she goes. She is also a former Peace Corp worker (this link is to a project she's working on) who is interested in helping the stateless peoples' of the Dominican Republic.


Tom Williams... and a gallery founder, Tom makes beautiful bells from propane tanks and sculptures using the shoes of mules that trod the trails of the Grand Canyon. His "Shoeguaro" sculpture won Best in Show at the Flagstaff 2012 Recycled Art Exhibition (coordinated by The Artists' Coalition of Flagstaff). A collaborative sculpture is installed at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Mutton Bone

it was while climbing the hill near camp that I spotted this 1898 installation.   

The next day we went back so Suzan could enjoy the view. It was a leisurely quarter mile and about midway across she noticed something delicately poised on the edge. It took some scrutiny -- it had weathered -- but eventually I recognized it as a post-dinner offering to the coyotes from two evenings earlier...the bone from the lamb I'd enjoyed. The Trickster had cleverly placed it for Suzan's discriminating eyes.

Albrecht Durer nodded with satisfaction at this view.  

Erected & re-erected

Safely kept switch. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fort Trevor & The Vigraha Art Gallery in Prescott

On the way to our meetup, Suzan stopped to visit a friend. As the friend's daughter was admiring Suzan's  hammock and stuff, she commented that Trevor was like a fort. Thus, his name, which means Trusted Traveler, became Fort Trevor. 

Suzan and I are spending a couple of weeks together while she acclimates to finding her way "home" each evening. 

She's adapting amazingly fast and you can tell by Fort Trevor's smile he's pleased 
to, once again, be oot & aboot.

We stopped in Prescott where I sampled the Nasty Lady (with mushrooms) at Nastee Dogs hot dogs (one block South of the Court House on the West side). They make all their own dogs, buns, mayonnaise and ketchup. The meat is smoked behind the store. It was the best Brat I've had since Germany!! And only $7.50. 

We also visited The Vigraha Art Gallery at 115 E Goodwin Street, Suite E. It's just up the hill from the Chamber of Commerce in the back left corner of a little court yard on the same side of the street as the Chamber. It was full of museum-quality Tibetan, Nepalese and East Indian bronzes (for reals!!!), a few of which were life-size. 

Suzan keeps her guiding principles on a white board so they can be easily updated. 

1) Face the fact of your own death.

2) Stop making excuses.

3) Become a woman of your word.

         A) Be impeccable with your word.

4) Don't take anything personally.

5) Don't make assumptions.

6) Always do your best.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Benefits of Travel

Sometimes I puzzle over why we see things when we travel that we otherwise would miss. Then I think, "What's for dinner?"

This Vette was parked near the Gallup library, one of the best wi-fi stops on I-40. It's a magnificent purple, much better than my camera captured.

The owner appeared and allowed as how he'd considered taking it to Albuquerque to show, but was afraid it'd get stolen.

 I assured him the place was crawling with thieves and murderers and he was much safer in Gallup.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Cat Odor Review

The story is told how cats, literary creatures that they are, glean the latest news, stock reports and foreign affairs from the publication delivered whenever the opportunity arises...via pee mail. 

It's read, or rather flehmmed, with concentration, much the way humans partake of the Yale Law Review, Bloomsbury, or Atlantic Review. As an addition to the aesthetic experience, this song was created to be hummed while reading and/or sung on special occasions such as birthdays, weddings and art receptions. 

It's also a "trick" quickly learned and performed by the beggars, esp the teenagers.*

Here we carry on (link to Youtube vid) the tradition.  

Happy Halloween!!

* A former neighbor, an elementary teacher, began the tradition of having them perform tricks for their treats; her list included screaming. My usual response to the first attempt is an obviously affected "That was pathetic!" I give a count of three and am, each year, amazed at the enthusiasm embodied in the second and occasionally third performance as the children embrace the encouragement. Watching the teenagers reactions to learning and performing Cat Odor Review is incomparably more valuable (to me) than the wealth of candy I reward them with. Awwwww, maaAAAAANNN!

The (Global) Military Industrial Complex or....It's SO much FUN being in town!!

Familial responsibilities require I return to Albuquerque every now and then. I use my spare time to research some of the incidents that influence our economy. What follows is an example of the complexity of the global economy. I think it also adds evidence to the idea that blaming the President (see: That Obama!!), whoever s/he may be, is merely the easiest way to express frustration with the fact it's (our political system) a juggernaut.

This article....

got me wondering about United Technology Corporation's (UTC) role in the military industrial complex. As the next article shows, it has intimate ties to China.

The article above talks about how UTC scapegoated two of its divisions, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) and Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation, letting them take the blame for UTC's traitorous activities. In 2012 P&WC paid a $75 million slap-on-the-wrist fine to the U.S. Government (who knew as part of the Fair Trade Agreement that Canadian companies would be liable to the U.S.?) for giving software to the Chinese that enabled them to perform transgendering modifications to commercial helicopter engines & morph them into sophisticated warships.

"P&WC exported controlled U.S. technology to China, knowing it would be used in the development of a military attack helicopter in violation of the U.S. arms embargo with China," said U.S. Attorney David Fein of Connecticut. (para 6 in this article

From this articleThe government said the $75 million settlement included $20.7 million in criminal fines, forfeitures and other penalties to be paid to the Justice Department, and $55 million in payments to the State Department as part of a consent agreement resolving 576 administrative export control violations. 

The following paragraph is excerpted from the article below it. Although UTC denied awareness, if you've been reading the leadership/motivational literature for the last couple of decades you know that's an unacceptable excuse. And as noted in the article below, UTC admits that what their "children" were doing gave them access to over $2 billion in commercial helicopter business. Hey! C'mon Justice Dept., wha's gd fer China is gd fer Uhmayrihcuh.

According to court documents, Pratt & Whitney Canada allegedly knew from the outset of the Z-10 [helicopter] project in 2000 that China was developing a military helicopter, but failed to notify its U.S. parent and Hamilton Sundstrand until years later.

Also from the above article...
The problem arose when Hamilton Sundstrand delivered certain modifications to the engine control software, which allowed China to test and develop the Pratt & Whitney Canada engines as it was developing the new military helicopter.

...Western experts said the Z-10, first delivered to China's People's Liberation Army in 2009, is developing into one of the world's most modern and capable combat helicopters.

In a later paragraph we read of the true impact of the "fine."
....the penalties are unlikely to affect the company's sales in China, which accounted for almost $10 billion of its 2011 sales.

A bit about...
Louis R. Chênevert, CEO of UTC


Chênevert assumed the position of President and Chief Operating Officer of UTC in March, 2006. He was elected president of Pratt & Whitney in 1999, after working with Pratt & Whitney Canada for six years. Before this, he spent 14 years at General Motors.
He serves as Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee of The Business Council for 2011 and 2012.[6]

Personal life and honors

While CEO of United Technologies Corporation in 2008, Chênevert earned a total compensation of $22,032,175, which included a base salary of $1,318,974, a cash bonus of $4,294,844, stock granted of $4,376,921, options granted of $11,774,710, and other compensation of $266,726.[7]
He is the 2009 recipient of the Honor Award from the National Building Museum
On 22 May 2011, Chênevert received a doctorate honoris causa from HEC Montréal.
US aviation trade magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology named Chênevert its Person of the Year 2011.

How much of this can we blame, or thank, President Obama for? Perhaps most importantly, we can be grateful to the Federal Court for not fining UTC more than they did. After all, as an American-based multinational corporation paying its CEO over 22M, we know there's a chance any of us could someday stand in Mr. Chenevert's shoes. We wouldn't want to discourage children by spanking UTC too hard. And while we're waiting to be discovered, we can sleep soundly knowing that the secrets UTC shared with the Chinese will, in the long run, hopefully benefit us all...and especially Americans. Maybe we're not sure how, but that's okay; the new Fall programs have started. 
And finally...all the above threatens national defense by keeping us from meeting the deadline for the F-35. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

That Obama!

I'm based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the place where everyone who's been everywhere settles. It has a good airport, superb green chili and property is still cheap. 

Our 85 sq mtr (900 sq ft) home is in a blue-collar neighborhood where folks bought (they're now too poor to afford new) new cars because everyone else did, drink Bud Lite beer because everyone else does, and let their dogs bark all day because they're completely self-absorbed. It's always a great relief to leave.

Several years ago a dyslexic truck-driver neighbor whose politics were gleaned from TV and dock workers began affecting the expletive: That Obama! When asked, "Wha'd he do now?" he'd spout sound-bite drivel or sweeping generalities from talk-radio. He bought a white SUV and then had it painted black after his peers informed him black was all the rage. In this part of the world where the sun shines 365 days a year and it gets HOT, a black vehicle, like having a child when you're thirteen, is nothing but proof of stupidity. (They used to wait until fifteen but cultural recidivism is rampant.)

In a town where you'd think EVERYONE would bicycle, gas prices are closely watched (thaaaAAAAATTT's Albuq!!). The pricing velocilutions are tied to elections and many people fill their backyards with olde 55-gallon-drums in anticipation. It's like playing the market...and pickups that have never hauled anything more than a six-pack line up at the pumps with as many as they can hold. There've been several fires that've vied with Burning Man for media time.

But this is the lowest prices have been since the '70s!!

                  That Obama!!

January 8, 2016 Update....

                        OMG! That O'Bama!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Twenty Five miles North of Truth or Consequences

I've known of Forest Road 225 for some time, but hadn't been able to explore. Perhaps your eyesight is better than mine, but I can sorta make out this view from Highway 1. It's about 25 miles N of T or C. 

For those in small vehicles, googling Springtime Canyon, Socorro County, NM and/or adding Truth or Consequences as a destination will show you the road.

I camped across from the dam.  

In the morning I strolled over to admire the masonry work.

TheeeeeeeEEEEERRRRRREE's Eggbert! (slightly right of center near top of hill)

We trundled up the road a bit, but the rain drove us out. I explored a bit on the East side of I-25, but the rains had made the dirt roads impassable. Next time. 

A well written trail guide to the Apache Kid Trail from Springtime Canyon to San Mateo Peak is on New Mexico Meanders blogpost of 2014-10-18. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Perhaps it's a delusion, but as one ages, ruminations become more protracted; that is, they take longer. To add to the experience this morning while pondering the role we play in each other's lives I added the dimension of time. Have u noticed how sometimes things'll take decades to have an effect; others are instantaneous?

And perhaps u 2 have noticed it's often impossible to tell when it's happening. Oh sure, sometimes you can feel the connection when you're making love. But what about the times in the checkout line (the one at the store, not the one to the Pearly Gates) when someone told you something that's stayed with you the rest of your life?

One that occurred in my mid-30s: 

I was then a marketing analyst (diff from analist) at the University of New Mexico Press. I was strolling back to my office from a satisfying lunch (paunch not even embryonic) when a woman of slender build and dark, intense eyes wearing a t-shirt and black form-fitting slacks moved from her line of travel and stopped in front of me. I, of course, stopped too. As our eyes met, I noted a focused look that, as I was soon to learn, foretold a moment of amazing worth. 

Using her index finger as an attention-getter she positioned it directly under "Mr. Nose" where it quivered like a cat's tail before the pounce. Then, in a tone that left no room for rejoinder she said, "When someone gives you something, say thank you!" And with nothing more, she stepped aside and proceeded on her way. It took a moment but soon I too resumed. Although this bit of manner was first imparted when I was still a toddler, THIS time it made an impression. 

It was soon after that (incident) that I noticed how my karate instructor always concluded our phone conversations with an enthusiastic, "Thanks!" 

It's been over twenty-five years since the woman on the street, but the memory is still vivid. And to this day...I follow her advice.

Watch for the small but pivotal (link is to a video) role of the cat.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Virgin Galactic Spaceport & Shrooms

I like to move every couple of days and after some map perusal settled on Engle (sometimes spelled Engel and/or Engele), on the east side of Elephant Butte Lake. It turned out to be nothing more than a junction with buildings belonging to the Armendaris Ranch (a Ted Turner conservation collaboration). At some point I'd noticed the Point of Rocks on my topo map; they were due south, on the only road, about 20 miles.

It was nearing suppertime (4 pm) when the pavement ended. I was bumping along enjoying the afternoon when suddenly the phone rang!! It's illegal to use devices and drive so I immediately looked for somewhere to pull over and there, less than 50 feet ahead, was a two-track into the wilds. Her timing is sssOOOOOOoooo exquisite!!

I wondered who had put the rock there...and why.

Eager to be away from the main thoroughfare, I tried multitasking.....checking the washouts to see if Eggbert could get through. She felt ignored, but I couldn't stop myself when I noticed this magnificent specimen...further evidence of global warming.

After moving around the bend we unpacked. During the night a couple of trains went by but they didn't honk-and-wave so it was tolerable. In the morning I hiked up the nearby hill and was astonished to recognize Virgin Galactic's spaceport just over the way. If you know what you're looking at, you can make out the huge SE facing windows of the hangar-main spaceport facility. For those unfamiliar, it's that dark-brown line at the far right exactly half-way down. The lighter area above the dark-brown is the roof. Virgin Galactic's website has more photos. (10/31/14 Crash kills one injures another.)

The main entrance.

No access to the front yet, at least not for the hoi-poloi.

Here's Eggbert in full regalia.The bugnet is a double bed REI special. Note trenching tool at lower left and "new" hat on dashboard. I got it for $1.00 at the Mental Health thrift store in Socorro. Every Tuesday is half off. It fits better than any before. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Los Ocotillos de las Quebradas (Backcountry Byway)

Here at N34.11855, W106.81048, we're at the northern most range of the ocotillo. And this is the fuzziest (see last photo) I've ever seen...evidence, along with signs of recent grading where the arroyos cross the road, of the wet summer. 

They claim we're in a drought, but the truth is it's a desert and the years they tho't (they call that thinking?!!) were normal were actually a period of unusual wetness.

Now that they've documented the (still unpredictable) weather for 40 years there are a few iconoclasts who're hinting that maybe *this* is normal. Of course, those who've grown accustomed to their entitlements don't want to hear it. 

Oh, and while yer at it, how about bailing out all us other "artisans?" Whaddya mean you only do banks & S & Ls?

Fuzzy! (probly my cataracts)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Berkeley Musings

I envy those who can evoke images with words and enjoyed this bit from a friend in Berkeley. She, in a prev life, lived in Africa for a while. 

October, 3, 2014

I'm sitting here on our back porch in amazing heat for Berkeley - the 90s - listening to the wisteria pods - do you have those purple vines in Albuquerque? - as they dry and burst in this heat, sounding like little BB guns shooting/popping their seeds into the yards and fences. When I first experienced this a few years ago I told ------ (name deleted to preserve the innocent) I thot some kid was out there pea-shooting at me while I was gardening.


Wisteria Pods
I realize I'm basically a Sacamenna girl, used to the dry heat and warm evenings of summer. I can almost recall the smell of gardenias then. And sprinklers on wet lawns. The typical Berkeley evening is cool, with a real breeze coming off the bay.

I've gotten used to it, and even welcome the fresh air sometimes as a relief from the other smells of a dry summer and city living.

Yet it's nice to sit out here and not get a sweater. To get up in the morning and put on shorts and t-shirt. Africa was like this too.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

El Malpais & Chain of Craters Byway

The monsoons are still in full swing and prompted me to move off Forest Road 400. It's about 20 miles west of Grants on highway 53 and has a plethora of campspots, but it turns to gumbo when wet. I'm carrying less water these days to aid in Eggbert's agility but it means more tho't to running out.  

So I moved about 10 miles to a jeep trail off the Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway. It's west of The Divide and a tad drier. The Malpais is an irresistible hiking draw, but even a brief swarai (neon colors!) begs the idea of suiting up (note motorcycle sounds) in football gear. You'd think after 10,000 years the rocks 'd've settled into tight niches. No way! Every other step tips just enough to inspire the wire-walker armspread. I tried pretending I was drunk, but sans alcohol the challenge of continuously falling (mostly) forward while watching the scenery reel was just plain tedious. After a couple of slugs of gin I was able to discard my compulsion and settled in to an ennobled (and seated) state of admiration. I had this venerable alligator juniper for company.

The 'soons made rainbows every few miles. I trundled down Historic Route 66 at a leisurely 35 mph taking it all in before being forced onto the freeway at Mesita.

Maybe when we have brain implants we'll be able to "share" the experience. Something to look fwd to, eh?  

First day of Fall at 2,134m (7,000ft).