Archive for Personal Shit

Blast from the Past

beer04This is an old one from the archives. Atlantic City Beer Festival, 2007 I think. It was near the end of Inferno Newspaper‘s seven-year run.

I showed my press credentials at the door, and Liz and I got in for free. And we got VIP treatment at the booths, with a lot of freebies.

Inferno started life as an underground arts newspaper, and evolved into a politcal/current events publication that raised eyebrows and ire.

I have toyed with the idea of starting a newspaper like Inferno in Apache Junction. The concept for the masthead is OUTSIDER. Distribution, and ad sales are the two main hitches in my plan. I don’t have the energy to be a sales person in addition to being artistic director and editor in chief. Not to mention, layout and graphics…

There are not too many things I miss about New Jersey, but the one thing I do miss is the sense of community that my artist and creative friends shared. Inferno was a project that was created out of a desire to share, and everyone contributed out of generosity, not out of greed.  Nobody got paid, and I laid out more money from my wallet than I ever got in return.  In the few years that I did end up in the black, I never did earn a return that was even close to minimum wage. I devoted at least 40 hours a week to the rag, and my best year rewarded me with $2,000, plus or minus…

So I have to wonder why I would even entertain the notion of doing it again.

Latest Acquisition

Justrite Electric Lantern with Cobalt Blue Globe

Justrite Electric Lantern with Cobalt Blue Globe

I have always loved trains. I guess this dates back to my youth and my dad and I used to walk the defunct tracks and trestle on the outskirts of Groveville, NJ, and explore the abandoned station.

My dad grew up in Groveville, and played on the same tracks when the station was in operation. As I recall, this was mainly a freight depot.

He told me the stroy about one fateful Sunday when he was playing on the railroad box cars, and he managed to release the break of a lone boxcar. To his horror the boxcar began rolling dow

n the slope towards the trestle. He quickly abandoned post and watched as the car hurtled towards the trestle. Read more

Writer’s Block

captains2Or rather, Painter’s Block…

I have not been in the studio in eight months.  In the beginning of the year, the excuse was getting used to working nights. This summer, it is the fact that the studio is 110ºF.

The truth is, I have no creative drive – possibly due to a combination of the above.  However, I don’t even have that much of a creative drive to write.

Perhaps with cooler weather, and some paid days off in my future, I will tap into some reserve.

Captain’s is a little dive bar that Liz, Mike and I hit for a few cold beers after auction night.  It looks like it might be possible inspiration for a new American Bar Series painting. Captain’s is “My Kinda Place”… you know – that ubiquitous bar song from last decade that made you want to throw the cue ball into the jukebox with excessive force. Read more


cucci-smithGrowing up at home, my mother used to rearrange the furniture on a regular basis, or at least that is how it seems. Maybe it wasn’t as often as my memory seems to believe.

It was always a trial for my dad, who was constantly stubbing his toes or slamming his shin into an end table or sofa that was not there eight hours ago. Of course, if my father had his way, there would have been no change in the house at all, and funriture would have been bolted to the floor.

Anyway – I have spent the better part of the last week rearraning Jill Cucci-Smith’s website. I talked her into abandoning her static site in favor of a more dynamic blog format. My first mistake was in installing WordPress into a sub-directory so that we could maintain her old website until we got up to speed. Read more

Wood Bomber Fishing Lure

Wood Bomber Fishing Lure The local Apache Junction Auction is an inexpensive source of entertainment. And at times it can be profitable.

Liz and I go every Saturday evening, and try to cap our spending to less than $50. We look for oddball items and useful items that we normally would not buy for ourselves, but when they can be had for a bargain… Read more


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 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.

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