Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So, what the heck do I blog about?

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself lately. I just don’t have much going on that I find interesting enough to natter on about.


So here is all the boring bits:

1. I’m reading lots still. Taking a break from war and peace (~600 pages in), and I’ve ready five others since putting it down. Another Vonnegut (I liked it more than Slaughterhouse), Zen and Now (didn’t like it as much as Zen), Basic Ideas (I severely disliked this book, for lots of reason), Sudden Awakening (cuz everybody needs a little spirituality), The Giver (read it as a kid, time to read it again).


I swear, I’m going to finish War and Peace though… hopefully soon.


2. To further feed the literary addiction, I have signed up for I list books I want to get rid of. People request said books. I ship said books. I get credit. I then request books from other people.  I now have Contact and Tortilla Flat on their way to me.


3. My ankle… yeah. After a full week of doing NOTHING physical I started going crazy. I tried walking a few blocks at some point during that week and almost cried. It stayed swollen longer than I expected. Then it bruised. A lot. Around the whole perimeter of my foot. It was like I had added blue and purple trim to my foot, but in a gross way. My mom says that means it was serious. :)


So, at long last, the swelling started going down, the bruising is now starting to fade, and I’m starting to exercise again. The gym doesn’t bother it much (squats are the only thing that hurt), but jogging is definitely something I will be slowly working back into. I’ve gotten back up to two miles. Hoping to do four by this weekend. I’m half-heartedly trying not to push too hard, but honestly? It feels so damn good to be moving around again that it is hard not to push it.


What the hell? For just hopping into a creek bed this thing sure was a bucket-full of trouble.


4. I’ve been cooking, but not keeping track of it. I made a baked chicken ziti, barbecue chicken, quinoa with turkey, chicken stir-fry, etc. I’ve got a 5-7 lb zucchini sitting at the house which I’m planning on baking up tomorrow. Tonight is steaks and veggies.


5. My diet has been steadily changing since I’ve moved. Not sure if it is just the new exercise routine, or just the need for a change.


LOTS of protein but very little red meat, which means lots of chicken/turkey and fish. And a scoop of whey protein powder every day.


Way more salad. Lettuce, avocado, cranberry, carrot, tomato, chicken, strawberries, blueberries, feta cheese, tuna or chicken, and no real dressing. I’ve been using either straight lime juice, or some balsamic vinegar with olive oil to dress it up.


I’m eating very little sugar. To the point where I actually crave candy bars, which never used to happen. Daily fruit intake is my main source of sugar.


I’m eating ALL THE TIME. Anywhere from five to EIGHT times a day. And whenever I’m not shoving food in my maw, I’m still hungry. If I didn’t feel so good I would think I had a tape worm.


6. Photography… what’s that? I haven’t picked up the camera since the photowalk.


The Chino Valley Fire service did use one of my older photos on a shirt for a fundraiser though. They were even nice enough to give me two shirts as payment! Maybe I’ll post some pics of those later? I think they rock.


7. I’ve started using facebook and twitter. That’s the majority of the socialization I’ve been getting lately, which is pretty sad. It’s also mostly nonsense that I post, so don’t get your hopes for intellectual stimulation up too high. :)


8. Scrappy-Doo remains an ever-faithful side-kick. Jogging 3 times a week, walks once or twice a week, and a few trips to the dog park knock some of the energy out of him, but not much. He is an energetic little son of a gun. Once the ankle feels good enough I’ll be heading out for more hikes, since that’s the best way I’ve found to wear him out.


Also – we found out that he is neurotic about balloons. Fill it half/half with helium and air, and you get a solid ten minutes of entertainment.


Once I settle in for the night to read a book or watch a movie he lays on the bed next to me and pretends to sleep. He’s such an awesome dog!




So, yeah. That’s about it. I’m alive, just boring. :)

Pic of the day

It sits apart, covered in the morning dew.

Another one from the photowalk. Yeah, I haven’t gotten out since then… Bad blogger!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pic of the day

Sometimes the weeds grow high. High enough to get lost in.

A lamp, hiding in the vegetation at sharlott hall.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Singing the night time song.

Two in the morning. Home from a night out and I stop on the porch to enjoy the night air. The streets are quiet, all the lights are off.

Over the next hill I hear the coyotes singing to the night sky. Singing a night time song. I sing along.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fun game

I made it the whole way through.


Perfect Balance


Pic of the day

It sits alone. Discarded. A thing, once cherished, now begins the slow descent into decay. The music plays no more.

A child’s xylophone, relegated to the backyard and the elements.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pic of the day

Just another shot from the photowalk.

A single-exposure HDR of the Sam Hill building, now occupied by Prescott College.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pic of the day

Priorities. Priorities are very important in life. Thankfully, everybody has different priorities.

Graffiti on the railroad bridge.

Wow, street drummer

This guy rocks it out!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We’re safe for a little longer

The LHC has more leaks. So no black holes to destroy the world for at least a few more months while they get things squared away. Currently they are saying November, but me thinks they will keep sliding it back further into the future.


Think they can keep the delays going until 2012?  :-)

The Money Shot

Saturday was the second annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk. I attended last year, and certainly wasn’t going to miss it this year.


So 7:00AM found me mainlining some coffee into my veins, and meandering to Sharlot Hall Museum to meet up with a bunch of like-minded folk. We putzed around the grounds for a bit, taking photos of all the pretty flowers, did a group photo, and then were on our way. A few folks wanted to check out the railroad bridge a few blocks away, so I gladly volunteered to show them around.


We decided to meander through the Granite creekway to snag some photos along the way. I’ve been wanting to get a few snaps of the dragon that I saw on GrannyJ’s blog.


I get up close and snap a few:


I decide to get a wider shot, but I’m shooting with my 50mm, so I have to back up. Thankfully the creek is empty so I decide to just hop on down. Unfortunately I decided not to look too closely before jumping. And as such, I twisted the holy hell out of my ankle and ended up on my back. All I could do was laugh.


Laugh, and get my darn picture! :)


I dusted myself off, and tried to walk away the pain. I made it up to the railroad bridge a few blocks away, took some shots, and then quickly hobbled to my office (thankfully nearby). I iced down the ankle for a bit. I could tell with all the swelling that it was going to be a rough weekend. I called a friend to pick me up and take me home.


A few short hours later I was headed to the hospital, with a VERY swollen ankle. X-Rays came back favorable, just a bad sprain. THANK GOODNESS. Now I just have to ask myself; was the picture worth the cost of the hospital visit?


Yeah, probably. :-D

Monday, July 20, 2009

Teach the controversy

I’m a big fan of making people think. And the shirts over here?  Absolutely great way to do that! :)

A sweet little calendar

Unfortunately it is an art installation, not something you can buy…

Ink Calendar


The calendar draws ink from a bottle through a ribbon of paper using capillary action! It fills in the numbers on the board at a rate of… one per day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday tunage

Coyotes - Jason Mraz

Huxley vs. Orwell, who was closer to the truth?

A very entertaining comic strip of comparisons.



Pic of the day

Finally managed to get out for a walk with a camera in my hand.

A large construction bucket, found at the new pump station behind the Pioneer Retirement Home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Something to cool ya down

on a hot summer day. Icicles during winter in PA:

Monday, July 13, 2009

A whole bunch of random

Not in much of a writing mood, so here’s a bunch of random:


Fog harvesting, great six page article. (via)


Yodeling country singer:


I notice weird things. Like in the second image of THIS PHOTO ESSAY, the car has an Embry Riddle sticker on the back window.


Also on, Aston Kusters.


Vibram FiveFingers review at wired.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday fun

Soccer goal celebration fail:

From the wonderful folks at Fail Blog

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A pic

Not necessarily a pic of the day, since I’ve been slack on those of late. But a pictures none-the-less:

Leaves and clouds.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The pulse of the world

Random excerpt from the journal:

I look out my window again, but the red rock is gone. In its stead stand thousands of acres of rolling yellow grass. At first I am saddened by the loss of those rusty rocks, their color gone from my view. But then the breeze blows and I see as it spreads out across the land. I stare in amazement as the yellow menace which has taken over the beauty of red rocks becomes one giant moving mass. In unison with itself it seems to embody the pulse of the world. Bend, straighten. Dance, sway. Why? Just because it is better than standing still.

Pulse, breath. Pulse, breathe. Pulse, live. I breathe deeply, hoping to take in the philosophy of the grass by taking in the breeze which moves through it. I don't know if it works, for it smells the same as all the rest of the air. I hope its vitality seeps into my bloodstream. I hope to bend and sway, dance and straighten.

At least it was pretty.

For my birthday I decided to cook salmon. Unfortunately, the store was out, so I had to work on the fly. I ended up with this oh-so-pretty dish of lamb:

Sadly though, it did not leave me satisfied. The problem? My brain was in a million places OUTSIDE of the kitchen while I was cooking it.

In short: it was a disaster.


Undercooked artichoke that was nearly inedible?


A wet and tasteless mass that was supposed to be couscous?


Coriander crusted lamb that was perhaps a bit too rare. As in; it wasn’t even warm in the middle?


Blackberry Sauce that, although tasty, could have been much more?


The mushrooms were decent at least.


It almost felt like I was eating the fake food that they use for magazine ads. It looks great, but that’s about it.


So, how do you cook an abomination like this? Oh, let me tell you:

- First, take a big box of blackberries, put them in the blender until smooth, then run through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. This sounds easy, but takes FOREVER. Best to start a week in advance for this one. Once strained, add some sugar (because those berries aint ripe), some ginger, and a dash of salt. Put on the stove to warm.


- Because you don’t have a pressure cooker, setup a steamer with some garlic cloves, bay leaves, and lemon juice for the artichokes. Cook them like they are in a pressure cooker: about 30 minutes, so that they will be rock hard when it is time to serve.


- Forget that you set your lamb pan to SUPER high heat to pre-heat it, put lamb in until they start to burn, flip, and turn to medium. Allow to sit until the outside looks edible, even though the inside is still raw. Quickly remove from heat and set aside.


- Whip together some mayo, dill, and black pepper. This is a dipping sauce for the rock-hard artichokes, and the only thing that will make you want to put them in your mouth.


- Slice a billion mushrooms, set in saute pan with butter, salt, pepper, dash of sugar. This will be the only good part of the meal, so don’t mess it up!


- Forget about couscous until it’s almost time to serve. Rush through it without reading instructions. Don’t wait for the water to boil first, just throw everything together, and THEN bring to boil. Add more spice than you should, because it’s turning to shit anyway. It won’t matter, no matter how much spice you add it will still somehow end up being flavorless.


Plate it all together. Add fresh blackberries, that will make it look REALLY tasty and will make it so the sauce doesn’t look like blood. Giggle maniacally at whoever is going to have to eat this thing; they are in for a surprise!



Monday, July 6, 2009

Another blogger meetup success

Thanks to everybody who came out. A good time was had! :)


Tear You Apart - She Wants Revenge

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Friday fun, a day early

No work tomorrow, so here’s a little fun today:



As for weekend plans; I’m replacing my brake pads tomorrow, might go to the rodeo dance and learn to square dance (YEEHAW!), go to a BBQ on the 4th, maybe watch some fireworks.

Sunday will see me at flinn park for the blogger meet-up, and possibly a drive afterwards.


How about everybody else?

Frizzle Frazzle

The water drops start to get larger. They start to get more frequent. As the band finishes their song static starts to come out of the speakers. Loud static which sounds exactly like what you expect wet amplifiers to sound like.


Luke and I are standing out on the patio of the local bar, listening to a local band. We haven’t seen each other in a few months, and it’s time to catch up. As the music is silenced by an early monsoon shower Luke chooses to stand under cover, I choose to stand in the rain. I hand him my cell phone so it doesn’t get wet.


We chat about life, work, gardening, exercise, vacations, the whole gambit. All of the conversations are meaningless in and of themselves, but the principle behind them is what’s important. The simple connection between human beings. Interaction.


The rain starts to come down harder and harder, until I have a constant stream of water running off my face. We finally decide to go inside. The storm is more stubborn than we are.


We find a table right next to the juke box. Poor timing, as somebody decides to put on a Michael Jackson song. We both laugh. We both agree that we won’t miss the King of Pop, we never really liked him anyway. Soon the jukebox goes silent and another band is setting up right in front of us.


An old man sits at our table and joins into our conversation at random intervals. We both get a kick out of it. He tells us that we’ve been cooking beef tongue all wrong. He was raised on it, and the only way to cook it is to boil it AND THEN peel it. How wrong we have been…


The new band is done with their sound check and suddenly there is an explosion of sound in the small room. A ‘fusion jazz’ band, whatever that means. The guy on lead guitar’s fingers move so fast that they begin to blur. The notes run together and sound like one continuous sound. The bass thrums to life as the drums pound out a beat. And then a piercing harmonica through it all. Bringing it all together. Conversation dies as we both revel in the cornucopia of instruments.


The song ends and we both realize that it is late. Eleven o’clock and we both have early mornings ahead. We walk out the door, promise to do it again, and say goodbye.


It was good to catch up with Luke.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Did somebody say birthday?

Oh yeah, I’m totally turning a quarter-century old on Monday!

And for anybody who might be mildly curious…









“Can you help me out?”

he asks as I sit on the square, reading my book.


The first thing I notice about him is his striking blue eyes. Sad blue eyes. They sit within a tanned face with gray beard, below gray hair sticking out from under a dirty ball cap. His vest is patched with duct tape in a few places and his jeans have grime caked into the creases.


He carries a guitar in his hand as he walks around the square, looking to scrounge enough cash to buy a drink. I invite him to sit next to me on the bench, and grab my last dollar bill from my wallet. When I hand it over he tells me he doesn’t take handouts, that he is going to perform a service for that dollar. He unzips that guitar case and pulls out his shiny six-string.


“As you know, I’m Jungle Jeff and this;” he says with a grand gesture to his instrument, “is Leah. Not like Princess Leah in those movies, but like my ex.”


The music is mediocre at best. At some point he played well, but the alcohol and hard existence have made him lose the knack. His song seems to be made up of many individual riffs, none of which match each other. Some blues guitar, some country, some random scales. Even for the musically un-initiated, such as myself, it is disjointed. But I tap my foot in changing time with his music, I smile when a part of the the song sounds beautiful.


I look at my watch and realize that I am late getting back to work. I wait for a break in the music and thank him for the song. As I shake his hand he asks if there is anything else I can do to help him out. Maybe go to the ATM and pull out some cash?

Just a couple more bucks he can get a drink.

I tell him that I have to get back to the office, but that I enjoyed running into him. I tell him to stay dry as the rain clouds start to build over the city. He smiles and those blue eyes appear sadder than ever.


As I walk away I hear him playing for nobody. A run-down man on a run-down bench, with nothing but the music to keep him company.

Blogger meet-up

FYI for anybody who didn’t get an invite: there is a blogger get-together this Sunday (July 5th). To be held at Flinn park at 2:30pm.  Hope to see all you local folks out there!

Only my sister

It’s eight o’clock in the evening and my phone rings. It’s Nikki. Nikki calling at eight o’clock in the evening means either:

A)  she is in trouble, or

B) she is in town and wants to hang out

I pick up the phone, to find that today it is a little bit of both.


Apparently, as she was shaving her head at home in Jerome her clippers broke, mid-stroke. Dead. Finito. No more clipping to be done. She was in dire straits, as there is no store to buy a new pair of clippers near her, and she didn’t really want to shell out for a new pair anyway. She asked if she could come over and use mine.


ME: “Sure, where are you?”

HER: “At home, in Jerome.”

ME: “So, you are going to drive for an hour to my house, just to use my clippers for ten minutes?”

HER: “Yes, see you soon.”


An hour later a knock on the door and there she is. One bare patch of scalp showing in an otherwise dark mop of hair. I can’t help but laugh as I take her into the bathroom to setup a make-shift barber shop. I’m not sure what she was thinking, but that one patch is as short as you can get without using a razor. There is no option except to take the rest of it down to the same height.


We joke, we laugh, I give her a Mohawk. Then I give her a top-knottish looking thing. And then I finally shave it all off, as close as I can get with my buzzer. When I am done her head is a combination of tan face and brilliant-white scalp. My floor and sink are a mass of near-black fuzz.


She looks in the mirror and says she looks like a skin head. I can only agree. She laughs and says she will throw some tanning lotion on it to get it darker.


She thanks me for my help, gives me a bag of apricots as payment, and drives back home. I sweep up all the hair and go to bed.


A situation that is 100% Nikki. A whole lot of random, a dash of drama, and a bucket full of funny.