Tuesday, May 31, 2005
My site is copyrighted. It's even clearly marked as such, now. (Thank you so much for making me do that.) But even prior to the branding, it was copyrighted. That means that the stuff on there is mine, except of course for links to other sites and other people. (I may have made the link, but I didn't make the other person's/organization's site.) If you download my site, I'm going to know about it, and I'm going to pursue you with all the legal fervor at my disposal. I'm sure there are copyright lawyers out there who would love to have a client who knows exacly when and where their property was stolen, and keeps records to boot.
If you're home and enjoying my diatribe, great! Hope you get a chuckle or two. The people who aren't supposed to be looking at my site have already been stopped. If they try anything new, I'll stop them again, and then litigate. It's that simple.
I haven't been this mad in a long time. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and look at our mountain view and calm down.
Update - A big "Hello!" again to my fans at the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority!
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Bah. Dear Hollywood, stop it. Now. If you've run out of ideas, that's OK. Take a vacation. Relax. Go fishing or something. We'll get by for a while. While you're relaxing, maybe you can distribute a survey or something. Ask people what they'd like to see. I can pretty much guarantee the reply isn't going to be: "I'd like to see you rape and murder the memories of my childhood before my very eyes."
Here. I'll give you one for free: The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Remake that! You could have a CGI creature, raise awareness of destruction in the Amazon, chicks in bikinis swimming in the river being unknowingly stalked by the creature... it's a gold mine! (You just damn well better have the creature's gills move when he's on the boat and staring at the camera. Or I'll sue.)
There. Go make cinema magic. And stop making us ill.
I realize I'm mixing metaphors so much I've got a veritable metaphoric fruit salad. My point is that if you're reading this, you need to take a moment and step back and really look at your life. If you're working in a job you hate so you can make enough money so you can live in a place that's close to where you work so you can get to the job you hate... that's really, really bad. You need to change the way you live before your way of life becomes the death of you. Take it from one who quite possibly would have had a heart attack before he hit 40. My head doesn't hurt! (From six advil a day, every day, to none? None??? Woohooo!!) My body doesn't hurt! I'm eating real food instead of McCrap! If you can identify with anything I'm saying, then you need to do something about it. For the sake of the people who care about you if not for your own sake.
OK, I'm done with my fruit salad rampage. Oh, and mad props to the Crew Cuts for the title.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Today, close to 15 years to the day I received my art degree, I sold some artwork.
The artwork in question is a digital scan of one of our vacation shots taken while visiting the Valley of Fire in Nevada, so not much creativity was needed on my part. But it's art, and it sold. I can officially add "Artist" to my list of paid professions. And I'll naturally be putting up more pics to sell, because we've been to some pretty scenic places. Not to mention the fact that we currently live in a pretty darn scenic place.
In other news, I tested the solar cooker today. I just put it outside to see how well it'd work. Heated up nicely, but I still want to tweak it.
In other other news, it's raining in the desert. How cool is that? It's 71 degrees! That's a 30 degree temperature drop! Wow!!
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Bah. And bah again, just for good measure. Oh yeah, click here if you didn't know what the title is all about. Today's art history lesson.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I just like the fact that the broken mirror will still be useful. I'm annoyed that I threw out the broken glass from our big picture, though. (It was reflection-free glass.) I probably could have salvaged a piece of that. Oh well.
I'll post pictures of it when I'm done. I've got other solar ideas rolling around in my head. What else are you going to think about when it's 105 outside?
Monday, May 23, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
However, you'll be on a dirt road that has a laughable 25 MPH speed limit. Laughable, because if you actually went that fast, your car would tear itself apart. So, you're cruising along at a good 5 MPH, and the sign you passed 15 minutes ago pointed you towards a visitor's center. After another 20 minutes and no visitor's center, you begin to question your intelligence. Mainly because it's the early afternoon, it's 109 F (or more), and you have no water. Not even a hat to cover your incredibly bald head. And you're driving along a road that could be used as a washboard, if washboards had rocks on it. Oh, and if there was ever any water anywhere ever ever ever.
After another 20 minutes or so, we finally found another road. Paved! Another ten minutes of driving at a whopping 35-40, and the visitor's center appeared like a mirage on the horizon. We got water, I got a hat, and we went on our merry way.
The park is absolutely amazing. Even when we were in mortal terror fearing death by dehydration, it was amazing. We'll definitely go back. I'll be sure to bring my hat. And 16 gallons of water.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD OVER ARIZONA THIS WEEKEND AND INTO THE EARLY PART OF NEXT WEEK. THE HOTTEST WESTERN DESERTS ARE LIKELY TO APPROACH 113 DEGREES... WHILE THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN PEAKS WILL SEE HIGH TEMPERATURES RISE INTO THE 80S.
So, I opened the door to get the morning paper, but it wasn't there. Just a pile of smoldering ash. Weird.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
In my dream, I was fighting with a giant tentacled creature. Kinda like the thing in Fellowship of the Ring, but much larger. And somewhat more cartoony. And purple. I wasn't fighting it alone, however. I was fighting with someone famous. Someone from the world of entertainment. Someone whose name is synonymous with "Action Hero". Yep, you guessed it: Bea Arthur.
Now, this wasn't modern-day Bea. Nor was it Maude-era Bea. This was Golden Girls-era Bea at her finest. Although I'm pretty sure I missed the episode where she was shooting the giant purple monster thingy with a laser pistol. You'd think that would have been one of the higher-rated episodes.
Anyway, the casino was OK. Nothing huge, but it served its purpose. Painfully easy to get there. It used to take me less time to get home from school when I was a kid. (And not because of anything interesting, either. Plain old travel time.) (Uphill, both ways, in the snow. With locusts and brimstone and stuff.) Ooh! And Rick Springfield will be there this weekend! Deb won't go back, though. We each have snazzy new casino cards too. With our pictures on them, which is a first. I wonder if it'll serve as photo ID...
We also took some pics of the grounds of the apartment complex. Because it's so darn cool!
One more thing... while moving and sorting and organizing stuff today, one of the items I moved was the plastic container that holds Deb's mom's ashes. Ideas coalesced in my brain because of it, and this is the result. I normally don't share my poems, but I'll make an exception with this one.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
So, I'll send them their response. Plus a little something extra. They probably didn't expect a grade, but I'm in such a good mood since we moved I may even make it a passing one. As long as "C-" is considered passing.
Monday, May 16, 2005
In other news, we bought a hand-made vase from a roadside vendor yesterday. It's just over two feet tall, and about a foot wide. I've seen similar things sell for $100 or more, easy. We got it for $35. In my next post, I'll be describing cheap places to eat with my AARP discount, how much my hip hurts, and why I can't stand those kids with their loud rock'n'roll music. Sheesh.
Friday, May 13, 2005
To help convince him to move somewhere where he doesn't have to tend a woodstove for 9 out of 12 months (and spend 6 months getting wood for said stove), here's some photographic nudging:
Before (Feb, NY) After (May, AZ)
That thing on my face is a "smile". And I'm missing a chin already. Only 8 or 9 more to go, but I'm glad to be rid of one. Oh, and, no, that's not photoshop trickery. They're straight from my licenses. I've gotten a wee bit of color instead of my usual luminous geeky paleness.
Hint hint, family and friends, hint hint.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Mind you, I didn't stop talking there. I'm just pausing in my narrative to give you a chance to laugh at me.
As soon as I realized what I had said, my brain kicked into "emergency clarification of double-entendre mode", so what I said sounded more like: "Yes, do you have nuts... bolts, washers, that kind of stuff?" But where those three dots are (some would call that an ellipsis) is where the little voice in my head was both laughing and screaming at me at the same time. Not a pretty sound, so I'm glad I'm the only one who can hear it.
In other news, you may have noticed the proliferation of ads and stuff on my site. There are two reasons for that. The first is that we've been playing around with these online survey things, and have discovered that you really can do pretty well with them. I made about 40 cents a minute playing games, and Deb is just rocketing us up into the next tax bracket. (Well, not quite. But in two days she's made more than what we spend on food in a week. And we don't cook.) If you've got a spare hour or two in your day, check them out. You'll earn some mad money, or kill some time. Oh yeah. The second reason is that I get credit for referring people. So, click away!
Finally, we got back the pics from the non-digital camera yesterday. I'm going to scan them in and make pages for them in the near future. Isn't that exciting?
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
Sound a bit extreme? It barely scratches the surface. They made my wife cry. I don't really give a rat's ass what they do to me, but if you hurt my wife in any way, you've officially forfeited your life. I would gleefully unleash worlds of pain on those who accidentally brush up against her. Steven King would whimper at the thoughts that go through my head for those who make her cry.
In other news, we got our new license plate and licenses today. My new license doesn't expire until 2035. 2035! I'll be 65, and have the same stupid picture on my license? That's scary.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
The town is fantastic. Tons of shops and other things to do/see, but it doesn't feel that way. Long Island felt crowded and over-developed. Congested. Paved. Dirty. There are significantly more shops, restaurants, and other such things here. Quite a bit more. But it's not so... plain. They maintain the art and architecture of the southwest in their buildings, streets, and even malls and strip malls. It's fantastic. (I know I said that already, but it bears repeating.)
So, our journey is over, but there's more to do. For now, though, I think it's time for lunch. So there.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
From the streetlamps that look like alien heads to the UFO museum to the alien coffee shops to the souvenir shops filled with cheesy stuff more potent than lunar cheese... it's a tourist town. But we loved it. The UFO museum, with all its grey pegboard high-school kitsch, was interesting. Lots of authentic material, lots of artist impression, and lots of stuff that was just... stuff. It was no million dollar organization, but it only cost us four bucks total to get in. Plus, I got a great shot glass to add to my collection! Can't beat that!
After that, we hit the road and without preamble we saw a sign for the Billy the Kid Casino.
Again, being who we are, we stopped off for a little bit. It's a casino, race track, and buffet all in one. How can you go wrong? It was definitely a hangout for locals, and it definitely was not prime gambling season. There were roughly 20 cars in the parking lot. The racetrack was closed, but we didn't care. We went in, and inside of 10 minutes I had made $20. Inside of 15 minutes, Deb had won $600. All on quarter machines. So, we stayed a while longer, won a little, lost a little more, but still came out ahead.
On the road again, and we stopped at the White Sands Monument.
There's also a White Sands Missile Range, but we didn't go there. The white sands were awesome! Miles of white sand dunes, desert plants and flowers, and the sky... we had been running with a light drizzle on and off, but that light drizzle was going to turn into a big ol' thunderstorm. We had seen some great sky, though. Blue on one side, dark and foreboding on the other, with lighting and everything.
The sky made for some great images, though.
One cool thing about the park is that you can just park your car and head out along a sand dune. Sure, your car will fill up with white sand, but that's ok. Another cool thing about the park is that it only costs $3 per adult, and the ticket they give you is good for six days! You can't beat that. We barely scratched the surface of what you could see there, and we were there for about an hour and a half.
After the White Sands, we headed for Las Cruces. Las Cruces marked the first time in our entire journey that we had to seek out a hotel for the night. We finally found one "named" hotel (as opposed to "Earl's Sleep 'n' Git") and stayed there. It wasn't great, so I'm glad they knocked $20 off the price.
Back on the road, heading for Arizona, we stopped off at a touristy place that had been advertised for a couple hundred miles. We saw the self-titled "mystery of the desert"... The Thing! Now, there's no way in hell either of us are going to miss a billboard that says "Have You Seen The Thing?"
It's like I wrote it, for god's sake. So, we each paid $1 and headed off to see "the Thing"! Very folksy, touristy setup. Lots of interesting stuff along the way to see "the Thing". Antiques and other oddities of the past 400 years. Then, we finally saw it... I don't know if I'll get in trouble for saying what "the Thing" is, but I'm going to live dangerously and do so. "The Thing" is a mummy, presumably female, holding a mummified infant. It looked real to me, and since I know that mummification was practiced by a few tribes in Mexico, I figure it's real and that's good enough for me.
We finally got to Arizona!
We drove on to visit our friend who is about 30 miles from the Mexican border. (Our apartment wasn't scheduled to be ready until the next day, and she basically ordered us to stay with her that night. After 10 days of hotels, it was a no-brainer.) On the way, we also saw a few of the reasons why there are signs scattered along the highway warning of sudden dust storms.
Her house was gorgeous. Both the front and back views were of mountains. Mountains so close you felt as if you could reach out and touch them. And quiet! It was so, so quiet. The best part, the absolute best part... I could see the stars!!! No glow from the city, no streetlights anywhere. Just the dark of night, and the stars that make it fantastic. If you live in or near a city that has light pollution of any intensity, you are robbing yourself of one of life's great pleasures by not being able to go outside at night, look up, and being stunned. It's breathtaking.
After that, we finally headed off to our apartment. But I'll save that for another post.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
I know this really has nothing to do with the trip. I guess my point is that I'm feeling creative again. The way I used to feel before. It's not forced. It just is. I hadn't realized how much I missed it.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Luckily, we still had a snowbrush in the car. So we dusted off the car and headed off to Palo Duro Canyon. We hadn't known about the canyon the day before, but since it was on the way, we thought we'd check it out. We're very, very glad we did. It was absolutely breathtaking. Second largest canyon in the US, and you can just drive right up to and through it. You can picnic there, camp there, hike there... it was awesome. The snow/rain didn't diminish the experience one bit. Click on the link to see the pics. They say a lot more than I could.
After that, we headed off to Roswell, NM. I have to say that our journey has taken us across ten states, and in all that time we've never felt so... out there... as we did in New Mexico. Other states had some wide open spaces. But those wide open spaces had stuff in them. Barns, cows, windmills, whatever. New Mexico has some huge, huge!, wide open spaces with nothing.
I mean nothing.
The land is completely untouched. It's not used for farming, grazing, nothing. It simply is. It's green, it's flat, and it's empty. There was one "town" we went through... it had three buildings. Three. A post office, a church, and a store. I have no idea how that constitutes a town, but it was on the AAA map and had a "welcome to" sign. Maybe the people all have multiple personalities so it counts as a population explosion.