Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I Didn't Know I Was So Popular

In recent days, I've had a couple different people (well, one person and one organization) download my entire website. The whole thing. I don't think it's because I have innovative web design, because quite frankly my layout sucks. I don't think it's because I'm just so funny, because there are plenty of people who can spit bile better than I. And I don't think it's because of my proliferation of banner ads, either. I've seen sites that have a hell of a lot more than mine. Needless to say, having the entire contents of my website stolen didn't make me happy. Not even a little. Thanks to Jeff, I've been able to block certain people from even viewing the page so they can't steal anything else. I actually knew something about art and copyright from my college days, but a quick search showed me that things have even improved since 1990. So, this will serve as a "public notice" kind of thing to everyone...

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

Just Stop It

We just saw a commercial for an upcoming movie. "The Honeymooners". Yes, the classic TV show is being remade into a feature film. Who's in this sure-fire hit? Why, Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps as Ralph and Ed, respectively. If you're like me, your first reaction is: "Who in the hell are those people?" Followed closely by bile rising in your throat. I must admit that I am not a fan of the classic TV show. I am a fan of Hollywood stopping this trend of trying to make things "fresh", "hip", or "edgy". What the hell is next? "All in the Family" with Jackie Chan as Archie, CCH Pounder as Edith, and French Stewart as "Gary", their gay son who wants to become "Gloria"? Maybe they'll make "After M*A*S*H, the movie"? But it'll be animated. Anime! Big-eyed, spiky-haired unfunny Colonel Potter! I smell movie gold! Hey, what about "Eight Is Enough"? Get Dick Van Patten, but he's a cyborg. His eight children are household appliances fused with the occasional body part, and his wife is a segway with a kneecap or something. How about "Sanford and Son"? Get Larry the Cable guy to play Lamont. Or Fred. Or both. Where's the "Green Acres" movie? Eddie Albert just died, so lets set him to spinning in his grave ASAP! Get Will Smith and Jada Pinkett to play Oliver and Lisa! See, it'd be funny, because they could bring some "street" to those dopey redneck farm folk! Maybe a "Maude" movie. With Jackie Chan as Maude. He could be all sarcastic with a dry wit, and then kick ass for a little bit, then go play canasta. Hey, how about a remake of "Barney Miller"? Get Abe Vigoda and Hal Linden to reprise their roles. Where's the "Three's Company" movie? Ooh! Or "The Ropers", that saucy spinoff? In a nutty twist, you could get Don Knotts to play the part of Jack Tripper.

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.

Sh-boom Sh-boom

Since we moved to Arizona a scant 24 days ago, my wife and I will take turns and intermittently say to one another: "You know what? We live here!" That word is emphasized for two reasons. The first is to remind ourselves that we are not dreaming. The second is to emphasize the fact that we're actually living here, as opposed to just existing. New York, or how we were living in New York, was slowly killing us. Jobs we hated were forcing us to quickly eat food that was incredibly bad for us, and after a 10 or 12 hour day we went home and just fizzled. Our brains were too numb to do much more than complain about how lousy our days were, and to spend a little quality time with the computers. Not doing creative stuff like making artwork or writing or anything. Generally we played games to escape reality and go to one where things mattered and in doing what you did made a difference. Where you could fight for something and actually win. (And did so while one of the Lord of the Rings movies was playing in the background. Again, a story where things matter.) People didn't complain about being saved by Orcs. They were happy you did it. Even thankful.

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

And It Only Took 15 Years!

I scribbled as a little kid. Most little kids do, after all. But I kept scribbling. Eventually I could draw things that looked less like Picasso on LSD and more like actual things. I was an art major in high school, and got an art degree in college when I was 20. I never got a paying art job. (I did illustrate a book, but since the book never sold I never got paid.) My creativity was shunted to other aspects of a decidedly non-creative job.

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

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

Today I was confronted by yet another shining example of why I will never fully understand my former employer. While fililng out more paperwork, I was instructed to print a semi-fillable .pdf. Now, the fact that some of it was fillable is a major improvement, yet I simply do not understand why the whole thing wasn't fillable. It's really not that difficult to make a fillable .pdf, yet it's as if whoever was making this particular file just got tired and stopped. Or perhaps it was break time, or the end of the shift. There are really too many possibilities to list here, so I won't. Here's the part that kills me, though. The part that made my blood boil at the outrageous stupidity. The thing that gave me flashbacks to every friggin' thing I ever read at that place. I did not make this up. I really wish I did, but I didn't. I mean, the statement itself is a lie merely by its own existence. But that's the kind of cognitive dissonance that keeps the place running. But really, more importantly, it's an electronic document! You don't need to conform to the mentality of a printed form! Even number of pages, odd number of pages... who the hell cares? Yet I know in my heart of hearts that someone got an award for this. For making a semi-fillable, even-numbered page form with instructions on how to get it to print correctly... someone got an award. Different people got awards for sending me the same thing three different times from three different states, though. All of which claimed I needed to send something back to them. No postage paid envelope, though. Could've saved one from one of the three states, but nope. And the information could be found online, so I could've gotten an e-mail for free. I know damn well they know my e-mail, because they sure as hell know my website.

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

Flare for Cooking

Remember how I said I was going to make a solar oven? (Get it? Solar...flare...) I was looking at designs online, and saw that most of the designs used aluminum foil (or, if you're a child of WW I like me, "tin foil") as the reflector. You may remember that the movers damaged a bunch of our stuff recently. Including a full-length mirror. They broke the top third off, but the rest was in once piece. I say "was", because earlier today I was cutting it into bits with a glass cutter to make a solar oven. I've never used a glass cutter before, though I've had this particular tool for over 20 years. (Pretty cool, too.) It's a happy coincidence that the small third of the mirror was sitting in a cardboard box with a lid, waiting to be tossed out with today's trash. Mine is going to look a bit different, though. I'll have angled bits of mirror inside to bounce more of the heat around inside. And I'll also have a grill-type thing in it. Adjustable, of course.

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

Buster Poindexter's Energy-Saving Tips

I went outside to start the BBQ. It's electric (boogie woogie) and hasn't been plugged in yet. It also has a nifty thermometer on the lid to let you know when the thing has reached optimal temperature for BBQing, grilling, toasting, whatever. The temperature on the lid before I turned it on was 150 F. In other words, I'm going to make a solar cooker. No cords to trip over.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

How To Be An Idiot

It's really quite easy. First, leave the house and go to lunch. Then, decide you're going to head out to the Saguaro National Park. (Don't bring a map, because it'll spoil the fun.) Drive the wrong way, then turn around and drive the right way. Get to the park, but since you're driving on the paved road, you're just zooming through it like the locals do. (And making them angry, because you're doing the speed limit.) Turn around again, and head off on the first dirt road you see. You'll see some amazing stuff, like this:

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

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby



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

I Wish I Could Blame It On The Elevation...

I had a dream the other night. Now, mind you, for the past few years I haven't remembered my dreams. (I think they had to be. Creativity had to be stifled in order to make it through the day without screaming for ten hours straight.) The good thing is that I'm able to remember my dreams again. The bad thing is that I'm able to remember my dreams again. Confused? Just wait...

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.

This May Or May Not Be A Good Thing

We went to a casino this evening. Specifically, the Desert Diamond Casino on I-19. Took us about a half an hour to get there, and along the way we drove through part of an Indian reservation. And here's something to make you scratch your head... right before we got to the reservation and all the time we were in it, the highway signs were in kilometers instead of miles. The speed limit signs were still in good old American miles per hour (because American drivers would kill themselves driving 120 MPH instead of KPH.) (That's 75 to you and me.) The distances between exits were in those damnable base ten kilometers. I like my units of measurement to be cumbersome and involve irrational comparisons, dammit!

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

Resistance Is Fewtuhl

I've received some snail mail from my former employer in the last few days. One in particular made me laugh out loud (or "LOL" as the damn kids say). (Damn kids, with your typing shortcuts and your hula hoops.) The sentence that made me laugh? "It is imperative that we do everything we can to retain good employees." Mind you, my laughter was quickly replaced by the urge to send the letter back to them, marked with red pen pointing out the grammatical and spelling errors. But then I remembered that teachers aren't supposed to use red ink any longer, because it's too stressful to the fragile egos of today's youth. Which is why I think that all papers should be graded in the blood of those who make the mistakes. It'll cut down on repeat offenders.

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

Better Than a Slide Projector

I added a bunch of pictures of our cross-country trip to my main site under "Photos". If you have a dialup connection, consider yourself warned... it's going to take a while to load. Even though I made the pics small. Click on the links, and go get a drink or something. Those with high-speed access get the added bonus of clicking on pics and seeing them in giganto-vision.

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

Lordy lordy, look who's...

My brother turns 40 today. Happy birthday, you old coot! Don't break a hip while celebrating.

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

The Art of Thinking Fast; or "What Not to Say to Another Man If You're Straight"

Deb and I went to Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up some stuff for the new place. One of the things we needed was some hardware to attach the kitchen table legs, as we can't find the original stuff. So, as we're wandering around the store (and I've got a manly armload of white plastic bathroom organizers, clothes hangers, and wee baskets), Timmy the Wal-Mart Associate comes up to us and says: "Can I help you folks find something?" To which I look Timmy square in the eye and say: "Yes, do you have nuts?"

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

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Last night, Deb and I heard a strange sound akin to hammering coming from the apartment adjoining ours. We looked at the clock, and commented that it was pretty late for someone to be hanging a picture or something. However, when the sound of the picture-hanging increased in both volume and frequency (read: louder and faster), we realized that our neighbors were in the process of making more neighbors. Now, while this may make you chuckle (not only at our G-rated minds, but at the thought of the slow-dawning realization that we shared because of it), keep in mind that most of the people we've seen around here so far are way beyond retirement age. Now that your sick little fantasy of our neighbors being happy newlyweds has been shattered by the mental picture of Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy "gettin' busy" (as the kids say), I'll leave you to lose your lunch in the privacy of your own home.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Bust a Move

At long last, our furniture has arrived. I hadn't expected it to show up on Sunday, so this was a pleasant surprise. The pleasantness of the surprise ended after the very first item came out of the truck, and we saw that it was damaged. I'm not talking about a flowerpot or a spoon here. It was our brand-spankin'-new leather sofabed. The cross beam underneath was cracked. Sure, it's a piece of like 1X3 wood, but it took some significant force to crack it considering the whole thing was wrapped better than a mummy in a sleeping bag. The next casualty was one of the glass doors of our lowboy. Completely shattered. As was our full-length mirror. That was a neat trick, because the mirror was wrapped in bubble wrap, in a blanket, between two solid pieces of wood, and the whole thing was taped together. I'm not going to go through a litany of damaged items. I'm not exaggerating when I say there is over $1,000 worth of damage, though. All we know for sure right now is that our stuff was damaged when it was in NJ when it was transferred from the small truck that came to our apartment in NY. Therefore, I formally curse all those who work for Nationwide in NJ. May your reproductive organs be deep-fried while still attached to you, then force-fed to you. Then I want your skin stripped off and cooked into bacon and served to your children. Or your pets. Whatever. Then, I want every fiber in every muscle in your misbegotten bodies to be plucked like a harp string with a dental pick until it snaps with whatever musical note is appropriate. Oh, and before all this starts, I want your eyelids removed so you can't avoid seeing this.

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


We're in our new place as of the 5th. Our furniture, however, still isn't here. (It's supposed to be here later today, though. Here's hoping!) We're not really bothered by the lack of furniture, since the place is so awesome. We have a great view of the mountains to the east, the apartment is significantly larger than our old place, and it's so quiet we're going to have to get used to hearing birds again. I don't mind that one bit. Nobody's screaming, no music thumping... just whippoorwills and rock doves so far. Oh, and some sort of quail. There's always a breeze, too. Temperatures have been in the mid- to upper-seventies so far, but at night it drops down to the 50s or so. No complaints from me.

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

Back Up a Little

After the splendor of the Palo Duro, we headed off to Roswell, New Mexico. Those of you who know us know that my wife and I are sci-fi geeks, and therefore a trip to Roswell is pretty much a state law. Along the way, we saw more of the miles and miles of nothing which I've now come to expect from New Mexico. Once in Roswell, though, we were not disappointed. It's a fine city, with lots of regular, non-alien themed shops and stores. Make no mistake, though. They know they're on the map for an incident in 1947, and they don't hide that fact.

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


We made it. We're in our apartment, and it's awesome! Lots to add, but that'll come later. This is the post of brevity to let people know we're alive and actually have an internet connection again after several days of nothing. (Which in other circumstances would be akin to torture.)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Something we've both noticed as we've journeyed across several states is the powerful statement that an abandoned building can make. I mean, you're driving along, and there in one state of disrepair or another is an old barn, old house, old store. It may be just boarded up and padlocked, or it may be half-collapsed. But at one point, that building had both meaning and purpose. Someone cared enough to build it, someone cared enough to use it, and someone cared enough to maintain it. But then, something happened. Death, illness, apathy, or even opportunity. Some agent of change brought about a gradual or rapid conditional upheaval in the life of that building. And now, months, years, or decades later, the building bears the scars or outright maiming as the result of that change. My brain goes through the story possibilities whenever I see a building like that. Maybe it was once the barn built by someone's grandfather, but that someone has since gone on to live life in the big city, turning his back on the farm so the whole place has fallen into disrepair. Or maybe old Earl just up and died one day, leaving no heirs to the legacy of buildings, and they too are now dying the slow death of buildings instead of the slow death of man.

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

Armadillo Canyon

Woke up to snow. A few weeks ago, that wouldn't have been too exciting. However, when you wake up to snow in Amarillo, Texas, that comes as something of a surprise.

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.