Archive for Personal Shit


shedI have been remiss in my obligations to keep this blog somewhat current. The main reason is that there is nothing worthy to report.

The shed now has a roof, and a fresh coat of paint. Monsoon is officially upon us in the East Valley, and we had our first taste this past weekend. The downpour, while not up to “monsoon” standards, was nonetheless steady and heavy. I sat under the ramada and enjoyed a glass of Glenmorangie scotch and a cheap cigar, and the light show over the mountains. Read more

Happy Independence Day

Desert DeerA few weeks ago we were visiting a friend in Gold Canyon, and were treated to this view from his living room. Two very good size deer came grazing. That was a nice way to end a good day.  We drove to Globe and Miami for lunch, went thrift shopping in Superior, and enjoyed a nice afternoon out.

lumberSince then, I have been working on constructing the new shed.

We bought a kit from Home Depot which included everything except the paint, shingles and decking. All of the pieces were pre-cut.

The nice thing about the kit is that all of the wood was dry – it can be extremely difficult finding wood that is not soaking wet at any of  the big box home improvement centers.

The bad thing about the kit is that a lot of the lumber was twisted – when hand-picking, you can sort through the bad stuff.  That said, I was able to use all of the lumber, and the finished product is quite stable.

building trussesThe instructions were clear-cut and very well written. They provided directions and materials for making templates, such as the one here to build four sets of roof trusses.

Liz’s nephew Mike came over for the July 4th weekend – I had a paid holiday – and we had the walls and trusses up before the heat made us stop on Friday.

ready for shingles and paintOn Saturday, We installed the roof and the doors, and caulked all of the seams. Unlike Friday, we had no cloud cover, and so no respite from the sun. We called it a day by noon, and relaxed with cold drinks under the veranda.

We decided to enjoy the fireworks Apache Junction style, Liz and Mike sat in ladders in the back yard and I sat on the roof of the house. Then this morning, bright and early, Mike and I installed the drip edge and the rood felt. All that is left is to shingle and paint – and of course build shelves for the inside so that I can begin moving clutter from the studio to its new home.

Buck Knives

Buck 501 If a person receives bad customer service from a business, I think the rule of thumb is they would tell 7 times as many people compared to if they received good customer service. It’s human nature to complain and share the misery.  If you go shopping and find everything you need without a hitch, where’s the story in that? Read more

Relaxing Saturday

IMG_8420Liz and I spent an afternoon at the Phoenix Art Museum this weekend. The exhibit that interested me the most was “Modern Art – from New York to New Mexico”.

The first room of paintings featured mostly cubism – cubism never really interested me on an aesthetic level, hence no photos. The only Cubist painting I really like is Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” – which I think is one of the greatest paintings of all time.

The Phoenix Art Museum does allow photography of works in their own collection, no flash, of course. The only Duchamp in the show was privately owned, and off limits.

There is an Andy Warhol exhibit, several rooms of his portraits. That entire exhibit was off limits to photography, you could not even take a photo of an overview looking into the exhibit.

Whether you like Andy or not, you have to agree that he was involved in a major flood change in the art world.

angel's trumpet tapsAfter the museum, we had lunch at The Angel’s Trumpet in downtown Phoenix. The Trumpet is a hipster bar with 30 craft brews on tap, and an excellent menu.

We ordered flights – a flight is a tray of six 3-ounce glasses – a perfect way to sample beers you normally would not purchase by the pint.  I had a ground pork burger with bacon and barbeque sauce on a pretzel roll.

On the way home, we stopped by the Tempe Marketplace, and I picked up a bottle of Glenmorangie 12-year single malt for those evenings when I just don’t feel like filling up on cheap beer.


Rain, pain and gain

Purple Sage

Purple Sage, Texas Sage

The first time I ever heard of Purple Sage was in the name of the band, New Riders of the Purple Sage. I thought purple sage was an herb – but growing up on the east coast, I suppose that can be forgiven!

We have a Purple Sage in our front yard, and once a year it gives evidence of its name. It displays bright purple flowers for about a week, then becomes just another green shrub for the rest of the year. Read more

Phantom of the Opera

phantom of the operaSaw the Phantom of the Opera at the ASU Gammage Theater in Tempe, AZ tonight.

This will be the third time I have seen the production live. The first time was at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto in the early 1990’s.  Second row seating in the orchestra pit, to the left of center stage. The Princess of Wales is a modern theater, and this was my first musical. Well, other than the King and I high school production! Read more

Hedgehog Cactus in bloom

Hedgehog Cactus in bloomI transplanted a Hedgehog Cactus next to the studio last year. It seemed reluctant to take root, and even now its foothold in the ground is tenuous.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this ring of blossoms, proving this plant to be tenacious – such is life in the desert.

Apache Tear

Apache tearI discovered this in our yard last week, after a heavy rain. It has no value, other than the myth behind it.

This is an Apache Tear – a piece of obsidian formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago.

These artifacts of molten glass were formed during one of the epochs that birthed the Superstition Mountains. Years ago, you could collect them by the dozens in the desert.

The legend surrounding these stones is a part of the sordid history of the United States. In the 1870’s, US Cavalry surrounded a group of about 75 Apache warriors, and as the story goes, rather than surrender or face defeat, the warriors rode their horses off a cliff near what is now Superior, AZ.

The wives and daughters of the warriors cried when they heard, and their tears turned into stone upon hitting the ground.

Made in the USA

texas jeans

Mom, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet – USA! That used to be a fact. I can still count on Mom, but not so much the others.

Apple pie contains GMO’s and High Fructose Corn Syrup. You might as well use Ethylene Glycol as a sweetener! Chevrolet has become the mother of welfare queens, expecting taxpayers to bail out corporate malfeasance and managerial neglect. For a while, we owned a portion of General Motors, but then sold back the shares at a phenomenal loss. No wonder our 401k’s took a hit! Read more

Craftsman ratchet woes

Craftsman 43771 43772 ratchetsI have always bought Craftsman tools whenever I could afford them. They were well crafted, and the mechanics tools came with a lifetime warranty. No questions asked, easy replacement – just walk into any Sears and they swapped the tool with a brand new one.

How times change. Read more