Captcha!

captchaOkay – I let up on the rules allowing people to comment on my blog.  At first I restricted it to only people that registered – difficult for new users.

But I have two problems. One is the deluge of spam coming from China and Turkey.  The Turks destroyed this site with a massive attack at one time, due to my outspoken criticism of their government for denying the Armenian holocaust. The Chinese attacked me incessantly because I refuse to sell the domain name.

But the worst attacks came from posts by alliances of Paul Porreca of Millville, NJ, a Superior court judge who was politically active in attacking the Glasstown Arts District before being re-appointed judge.

I had to restrict who could post, and tightened the requirements – apparently too much. As soon as I loosened the restrictins, I was flooded with spam comments. My most recent solution is to institute a Captcha type safeguard – anyone can post at anytime, as long as they provide their email, and solve a simple math problem. This will stop the spam bots for a while. And it is a warning to the Millville Firsters that I am watching and logging everything. Hopefully it will not dissuade my friends from commenting.

Monsoon

Photo by Liz Nicklus - awesome Arizona clouds

Photo by Liz Nicklus

Liz captured a phenomenal photo last night just before sunset. Normally our Sonoran Desert sky is bereft of clouds – but Monsoon season ushers in tremendous formations. Sunrises are glorious, and sunsets formidable.

We had an extremely dry season this year, drier than normal, so the recent deluges and chaotic weather patterns during this Monsoon season, while not entirely welcome inasfar as they are quite destructive, are a necessary part of the cycle of life and death in the desert.

I have to run the lawnmower – an old style push-reel mower – every few days over what serves as grass in our yard. The temperatures have dropped from the 115° + area to the 80′s. But it is an unpleasant drop, as the humidity is close to an ungodly 50%. So much for the “it’s a dry heat” adage…

The thunderstorms are something to behold – lighting shows that would kick the ass of any lazer-light show at a rock and roll arena.

I have been melancholy of late – not good but it still beats the pants off of depression. There is a light atthe end of the tunnel, and while with every brightneing at the curve has been offset by a dimming with another curve, at least that ray of hope has not been obliterated entirely as it has so many times in the past. Exiting New Jersey was the best move I ever made in my life. Maine was never my problem; it was corrupt lawyers and untouchable judges operating just outside the law that have served to disillusion me.

But, enough of that nonsense…

The landscape here is breathtaking. I have a job that I enjoy (most of the time) providing personal challenges as well as a consistent paycheck. Weekly entertainment is provided by the local auction – good, cheap, clean (mostly) fun!

 

Sunrise

sunrise Left to my own devices, I would probably not see a sunrise. I am not a morning person. However, working all night and driving home in the morning allows me the privilege of some awesome sunrises. This particular sunrise was Friday morning, after a week of work.

The week was uneventful, other than some vigorous nights at work where every muscle ached when I finally got home. Advil no longer works for the joint pain in my shoulders, it only serves to upset my stomach; so I guess it is “grin, and bear it”.

Liz and I have been attending the local auction every Saturday night. Tonight’s deals were ten pounds of drywall screws for $6 and a nice chaise lounge for $8. Also, five milk crates for $7, and a five gallon water cooler for $8.

After the auction, as is ritual, we stopped at Captain’s for a few beers. They were having a fundraiser for a regular that has colon cancer and no health insurance. It is now midnight, and I am still on my night schedule. I am enjoying a cigar and a cold beer on the patio as I am still wide awake.

Jill Cucci-Smith new website

jill cucci smith websiteGood friend and artist Jill Cucci-Smith wanted a total revamp of her personal website, cucci-smith.com. Over the years it has undergone many changes, the last one centered around her Barn Studio.

Jill’s barn has history, and she has been faring very well with her classes for children and adults. Her adult classes involve glasses of wine along with art lessons, so I was not surprised when she took the next step in marketing. The Barn now has its own branded website, hopefully not confusing potential new artists with an URL that is different than the name of the studio; this move left the cucci-smith.com open for an extreme makeover.

I talked Jill into moving into a blog framework.  Jill wrote for me, under the pen-name Art Hag, for the Inferno newspaper I published for seven years. I knew she had a penchant for writing, as well as a way with words, so this move was a natural.

We are stil tweaking the blog, but I have moved her into a website that will soon be totally under her control.  She will no longer have to depend on me for updates – which was a bad business move on my part…

However, I always have the best interests of my clients at heart and will advise them on what I feel is best for them, even if it means a loss of income for me.

If you are in the market for a website, and feel that a blog is rght for you, I would be happy to set you up. For $400, I will set up a blog with your own domain name, with three years of webhosting included, and will teach you the basics. if you can use facebook, you can learn how to operate your own blog.

Happy Independence Day

Rainbow over the SuperstitionsIt is the Fourth of July, a day in commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Independence, which began as a protest of a 2% tax on tea, the last straw in a string of grievances of British taxes and usurpations without due representation. Oh, what irony if our forefathers could see what we pretend to call liberty today.

Carl at SkiesToday we plan a barbeque, under a weather alert of possible thunderstorms (a rarity in the desert, but when they hit they are vicious). We will attend the local fireworks display. The humidity hit an unbearable 35%.  When 16% is a normal high, 35% feels like you are swimming. The Haboob (dust storm) that blew through the valley last night dropped the temperatures by 15°. The 6MPH breeze is refreshing, and we can see the mountains once again.

Liz and I went to Superstition Skies yesterday for a few beers, and so I could pick up a hat I ordered. It is a camo cap with their logo. Jeff, the bartender, had an app on his phone that showed realtime tracking of the Monsoons heading up from the south. We have had zero precipitation this year, and are waiting for rain. Generally of the front comes up from Casa Grande, we get rain. No such luck because a twin system coming up from Tucson merged and forced the storm to the other side of the mountains.

haboobThere was a wonderful rainbow over the Superstions, made all the more beautiful due to the dust blowing through.  The Haboob shortly obliterated the mountains. The dust storms are ominous when viewed from the sky, a little less scary on the ground, but still dangerous. Visibility is greatly reduced, and the dust gets in your eyes and coats everything. Automobile windshields get etched, and forget about dust free furniture. The dust is so fine that no matter how well your house is sealed, everything gets coated.

The up-side of Haboob is the winds blow out the heat, and the breezes afterward are refreshing, even in 96° temperatures.

The clouds that had been accumulating over the Superstitions are slowly dissipating; it looks like we will have to wait another day for rain. However, it will make for a nice evening for a fireworks display.

A New Post

Superstition MountainSmall. small world.  In Millville, NJ I was good friends with “Sitarbob” Price. Bob is still a fixture in the Millville Glasstown Arts District.

I moved to Arizona almsot two years ago, and today I met bob’s younger brother, John. John lives in Mesa a few minutes from my house!  He and I were a year apart in high school.

Inside an old Indian cave

Inside an old Indian cave

John located me on Facebook, and today we got together to go four-wheeling in the desert.Four-wheeling in the desert is a different experience from anything else – for one, you rarely get the vehicle over 5 MPH.

We explored the restricted (but legal) Bulldog Canyon, an area adjacent to the Superstition Mountain wilderness in the Tonto National Forest, under the control of the USDA Forest Service. You must apply for a permit to access the area – all entrances are barred with locked gates. The purpose of the area is to provide the Forest Service ccess with firetrucks in the case of wild fires. Permits are free, but you have to apply at the offices in Mesa for the permits.

Foundation of an old mining camp

Foundation of an old mining camp

You are only allowed to ride on marked “roads” which are mostly nothing more than rock filled washes.

You have an awesome view of the Superstition Mountains if you have a vehicle able to navigate the treacherous mountain trails, er, roads.

We explored the various roads, and discovered hidden treasures. These are sites unseen by onlythe most intrepid tourist – such as the Indian Cave hidden behind a stand of Palo Verde trees. A little further down another road is what is left of an old mining camp. The camp was an old shack built on a foundation of rocks – the wood long gone.  The miner might have worked at one of the mines at Goldfield. Or maybe he was working the wash behind the camp.

Superstition Wilderness

Weaver’s Needle in the background

There are the remains of an old well (a hole in the ground) and the foundation of what was likely a stable for the mules. There is a terrific view of Weaver’s Needle from this vantage point.

The area is small – only a total of eight miles of road – but let me tell you, that 8 miles took well over two hours to traverse. needless to say, you won’t be taking your Chevy Malibu on this trek. But the views are spectacular, and on our drive today we did not encounter another human being.

if you are planning to camp or hike, it is advisable to carry a firearm, as there are bear and wildcats in the area – it is their territory. Always wear long pants and hiking shoes, and bring lots of water just in case.

 

GoGroove Bluesync MC

GoGroove Bluesync MCI am always looking for a bargain. I love music. When I can get a bargain that has to do with music, I am ecstatic!

I dont pay attention to most internet advertizing, and dispose of all spam immediately. However, I do read tech reviews, peruse the blogs, read computer and tech magazines – I love Zinio, especially with my subscriptions via the local Apache Junction Public library which pipes over a hundred magazine titles courtesy of my membership. Read more

Boring…

beerMy life must be boring, since it has been two weeks since I have posted anything. Working nights has some benefits, such as the ability to run errands during the day. But, my weekends, even though they are as long as anyone else’s weekend, seem shorter.

I went to bed about 1PM yesterday to catch a nap and slept straight through til 2AM. The nice thing is that I was able to sit on the patio and enjoy a cold beer, with temperatures in the high 70′s – a cool desert breeze.  It has been hitting 110 during the days – that makes it a tad bit uncomfortable outdoors. Read more

Small beginnings

rebootOn Memorial Day weekend, 1998, I invired a few close friends over for a barbeque and Margaritas. That even grew and grew, eventually becoming the the Annual Memorial Day Weekend Margarita Bash. From six people, it grew to over a hundred.

Now we are in Arizona, and back to small beginnings. Barbequed ribs and wings, potato salad, corn on the cob, a keg. Getting back to basics, it was just Mike, Liz and me. Maybe next year we will invite more people.

Beer on tap

beer on tapI finally got the old kegerator back into operation! It had been collecting dust in a corner of the studio.

We do not have the room in the house to put it, and the studio had to be made habitable. Those excuses out of the way, I just needed the initiative to prepare it for use. It is Memorial Day weekend, what better excuse. Sure, it will not be the legendary memorial Day Weekend Margarita Bash, but one has to start somewhere.

A buddy I work with is friends with the owner of a local dinner theater. They operate during tourist season, from October through May.

Joel introduced us, and I picked up a partial half-keg of Four Peaks 8th Street IPA. A full half-keg would run me over $110. I picked up a 1/2 keg that was tapped, about 1/3 full for $20. You do the math!

Yesterday I sanitized the lines. Today I picked up a new tank of CO2 from a local welding shop. We are ready for business!

Four Peaks is a local microbrewery, and they have an awesome selection. Joel, the bastard, picked up the keg of Kiltlifter. However, I am an IPA man, I love a good India Pale Ale. 8th Street is a nice IPA, not too sweet (IPAs aren’t) and not bitter. A wonderful amber color, a foamy head that last the entire pint, the perfect beer to enjoy with a cigar on a warm day.

I have been doing yard work today, getting ready for tomorrow.  We are going to barbeque ribs and wings. I ventured into the studio to organize the mess… I cannot work in disorganizaton at all. The studio – my side – is a disaster. That is due to my laziness. I am now working on cleaning my workbench, clearing clutter. But mostly I am working on that keg…