Another year older, another year deeper in debt…

Supersttion SkiesI guess I am officially over the hill – 52 years old as of last Wednesday. I celebrated by falling asleep in my armchair watching Sons of Anarchy.

We are not big on birthday celebrations – Liz treated me last week to the Buena Vista Social Club concert at the Mesa Performing Arts Center. She bought me a lawnmower for my birthday; that’s okay, I told her I was going to buy her a vacuum cleaner for hers… Continue reading »

Another thing you can’t do in Jersey…

WineIt has officially been one year (as of September 15) that I left New Jersey for Arizona. There is really not a whole lot that I miss about NJ, and quite a bit that I am happy to distance myself from.

New Jersey is, as is much of the northeast coast, an intrusive state. Bureaucrats and politicians get way too involved in the intimate details of daily life and miss the big picture, such as quality of life. Continue reading »

This and That

On the Easel - Ghosttown International TruckAUGUST 25 UPDATE:

For those that regularly read my blog, you will have noticed that it has been incommunicado for the past three days. This is due to the total incompetence on the end of the web hosting company, MochaHost.

The site is still not fully functional – I cannot add new posts, for instance. The technical support crew from MochaHost has been less than forthcoming, refusing to respond to most of my inquiries or to offer any status updates.

Anyway – at least my email is functional, and the site looks like it is working to most observers.

In some personal news, it has been quite an exciting week. I have been stumping for the better part of the year looking for gainful employment. Continue reading »

Perseids

Big Dipper over the Sonoran DesertThe big Dipper on the horizon of the Sonoran Desert. You will have to click on the image to enlarge it enough to see the detail. I have never seen the Big Dipper as large as I have in the southwest skies.

I had to nudge the contrast of the photo a bit in Photoshop, but you can clearly see the subject.

Liz, Mike and I drove out to First Water tonight to watch the Perseid meteor showers. The biggest benefit of living in Apache Junction is that we are less than fifteen minutes drive into the desert wilderness, with little light pollution.

We drove to First Water, and parked, set up our folding chairs, and cracked open our 16 ounce aluminum bottles of Miller Lite. I wasn’t able to capture any of the streaks – did you know the largest of the particles from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the Perseid meteor showers, are the size of peas when they hit the Earth’s atmosphere, bursting into fiery contrails as they obliterate themselves in a matter of milliseconds?

Anyway, we had a great time. The weather was perfect, a cool breeze was constant. We saw a coyote on our way back home, slinking across the road, ducking our headlights. This was my first coyote sighting. I have spotted several roadrunners – beep beep. I suppose these coyotes are really wiley…

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dad

Korean VetMy father was born this day in 1931, he would have been 82 years old, today.

My dad was right about everything, even when he was wrong. I suppose I inherited that from him.

He told to to get a career in accounting because there is no money in being an artist – he was correct on that one. I didn’t listen to him, I rarely did until it was too late.

Since he passed, the family has scattered even further than we were before. My mom is in Texas, and I am in Arizona. My cousins, the ones that are still alive, cover the four corners of this country – I wouldn’t know them if I ran into them. We never were a close family. But one thing we did, we took care of each other. I suppose that is what counts.

Life in the East Valley

desert sunsetIt is approaching the ten month mark that I have been in Arizona. The mountains still fill me with awe, the heat hasn’t beaten me yet, and I am amazed at how congenial most people are.

We moved here in the fall, when the temperatures were in the high 90’s with negligible humidity. The temperatures dipped into the high 40’s on the coldest of winter days, there were days I actually had to wear a long sleeve shirt. This past winter was wetter than normal, which while providing needed water for the aquifer, also caused excessive growth of the desert vegetation which died and dried out come spring, adding fuel to the wild fires that are a constant threat. Continue reading »

Surveys

Oh Noooooo!Help me make $25.00 – at no cost to you!

I participate in several survey sites that pay $$$. There are a lot of survey sites out there, and most are of dubious reputation.

I only participate in surveys that have an option of a cash payout. I presently make $20 a month from two survey sites, and have recently added PaidViewPoint.com to the other two. Signing up is easy, and free – and I get $25 if you sign up using this link!

To sign up, you have to complete a profile, for which they pay cash. So far I have not received any surveys, per say, but have gotten emails for more personal profile info (which is confidential and not shared with any other party – this survey was highly rated by SurveyPolice.com) for which you get more money added to your account.  So far the account balance is a few bucks for not to many minutes of my time – I guess I will find out how easy it is to qualify for the surveys and how well they pay for the amount of time the surveys take.

MySurvey and I-Say Survey pay out okay, but it could be better. And MySurvey too often gives you surveys that ask twenty questions and then inform you that you have not qualified, with nothing in exchange for your time OR the info that you provided. I still have made as much as $30 in a month from them, so I am not complaining too much.

My dad would be proud

97 degreesI spent time in the studio today. You can’t sell artwork unless you have some to sell.  I guess that goes for anything.

I cranked the AC to 80° – which to northerners might seem rather high. It is 106° outside, so 80° feels good. It really feels good if the studio ever reaches that temp. I was able to get it down to 96°…

I bought this Chevy thermometer at auction for $5, I was hoping it had some value. It was worth the $5 I paid for it, and it now hangs proudly in the studio.

I think I get my obsession for knowing the temperature from my dad – he always had a thermometer hanging on the front porch and checked it maybe ten times a day, almost as frequently as he checked his wristwatch.

My dad would really like this thermometer as it was a Chevy thermometer, and he was a GMC man through and through. Me – ever since GMC played welfare recipient with our tax dollars and demanded that taxpayers bail them out for their piss-poor management I vowed to never buy a GM product. Chrysler did it twice – and Ford managed to bail themselves out of the last fiscal recession without whining like spoiled brats that think they deserve money stolen from the working class that can barely even afford to buy one of their new cars. But, I digress…

Anyway, I finished (for now) my painting of Filly’s Roadhouse. I worked on eight saw blades – sanding down paintings and going over with fresh paint and new detail. If they actually work out, I will post pictures of them. Filly’s will be posted soon…

 

You are now leaving the PineCone Research website. Thank you for your interest in our panel.

Scorpion Gulch

Scorpion GulchAs I go through the image files on my hard drive, the immensity and volume of the posts on the old iteration of this blog astounds me.

For me, writing, like painting, is a process. I rarely paint the same scene twice, and I would be hard pressed to replicate older posts.

Recently we made a trip to South Mountain in Phoenix. On the road to South Mountain the remains of old buildings catch the eye. The one is a one room store front (pictured) and the other is the walled remains of a house.

“Scorpion Gulch” was built in 1936 by William Lundsford as a trading post, and was operated as a small store until the late 1960’s. The store served as a bar in the 1970’s, and soon after the property was deserted and allowed to fall into disrepair.

Listed on the Historic Register in the 1990’s, and currently the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has stabilized the walls, and it is open to the public.

Fourth of July Barbeque

barbequeIn Arizona, there are not a lot of outdoor activities during the summer months, the smart people stay inside in the air-conditioning.

We are not that bright.

We decided to have a barbeque, and sat outside on the patio with the mister going full blast. I installed a mister system a few weeks ago under the eaves of the patio, and even though it has six heads spraying water, the water never hits the ground. The temperatures hovered around 105°.

chicken wingsLiz made her famous potato salad, and we provided ribs. Liz made a batch of guacamole dip, and she picked up a dozen peppers for ten cents each at the produce market which we grilled. Mike and Tami brought the chicken and beer and soft drinks.

Mike has the best recipe for chicken wings on the grill. We purchased a real charcoal grill when we got out to Arizona – mostly because it was cheaper than laying our a couple hundred for a propane grill. I don’t think I will buy a propane grill again – the flavor is so much better with real charcoal briquettes. Continue reading »

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