Saturday, January 30. 2010
This month long annual event is scattered throughout the city for several weeks in varying venues. To learn more and where the various shows are held check Visit Tucson or Jewelry Show Guide. Of the many choices available around town, I headed over to Electric Park and the gem, mineral and fossil shows that were there.
Today was the first day at Electric Park. After the rain two days ago, some of the grounds were a little soggy. That along with the overcast day didn't seem to stop the spirits of the shoppers. There were plenty of people, but with the vendors scattered over several acres, it was not crowded.
Beads in all sizes, colors, shapes and content. Rock carved into spheres, egg shapes, skulls, pyramids, and numerous other rock based items could be found from one booth to the next.
Fossils and petrified wood were represented in many forms from the untouched and in varying sizes including cross sections, earrings, pendants, enhanced and beyond. Or how about a bowl carved from petrified wood.
Or how about a fossil sea bed carved and framed ready to hang on a wall in your home.
This stand mounted crystal may need floor reinforcement.
As a wandered around the various tents and displays, I noted the large amount of rock that came from Morocco. This was the same observation when I was in Quartzsite. The visualization in my mind is that seeing all this rock here, there must be a huge hole in Morocco.
Don't find something to meet your particular needs or you have an itch to make a living from found rock. There were a couple of tents selling all the equipment needed to carve, polish, and cut the stone.
Whatever your addiction or admiration, there must be a rock in some shape and color to satisfy that "itch to buy and have." Or if rocks really aren't your thing, there were booths for tie dyed shirts, cowboy myth memorabilia, imported clothing and purses.
All this walking is a bit tiring -- and it is a long day for these vendor's pets.
People watching all the time, these two demonstrated the latest in mother and son hair styles.
Friday, January 29. 2010
That is the title of the book by Jason Kersten.
Art Williams is the person and the subject of the book. Deserted by a father and growing up in the worst of Chicago's crime ridden neighborhoods, the intelligent Williams learns how to and then creates what he views as "art" -- a counterfeit copy of money. The bogus money is in demand and through Art's connections, the book reveals the methods for counterfeit money distribution throughout the world. Over a fourteen year period, Williams had printed multi millions worth of phony money. It is greed and counterfeit knowledge that lead to recidivism and Williams was no exception.
The seamy side of Williams growing up in a dysfunctional family and world of crime is told in brutal honesty. The author also weaves facts into the book about the design and manufacture of paper money and the roll of the Secret Service in the ever vigilant watch for counterfeit money.
The book is a page turner as there seemed to be a glimmer of hope that Art Williams could take his intelligence and skills to get out of "making money" and turn it to mainstream methods to earn a living. It was only hope.
Thursday, January 28. 2010
Who says you can't take your condo -- and its contents -- with you as head out to "camp". This rig was parked in the Camping World parking lot when I arrived in the rain (in Tucson where it rains infrequently). Trying to keep the camera dry, I grabbed a couple of shots before the tractor and trailer headed out of the parking lot -- very carefully.
Wonder where this rig could be parked. There are few RV parks that can handle something that large -- let alone the tractor pulling the home on wheels.
This Tucson stop is on the way to the SKP Saguaro park in Benson where I will be parked on my lot for a month or two. Only forty miles away, I will be back to Tucson for a big city fix now and then -- or a restocking from Costco.
With overcast skies all day and frequent rain showers, I was hoping for a better sunset as the skies began to clear this afternoon. Regardless. It was a great day for Wandrin Lloyd.
Monday, January 25. 2010
The last post mentioned the rain in the desert and the water flowing in the wash behind Wandrin Wagon.
With tornadoes predicted (and sighted in nearby Blythe), that evening the rain came down in a vengeance accompanied by strong winds rocking Brian's trailer where Paul and I had joined him for an after dinner drink.
The next day Paul and I headed downtown for more RV tent shopping. Wind damage was evident in the collapse of these saguaros just north of the main intersection. Of the eight saguaros that once stood there, four were toppled by the wind.
The tent areas of the various shopping venues did not fair much better. Some had collapsed. Others were flapping in the wind. Rain had made the goods from other tents a little soggy. From the front of one tent, mud and water were flowing across astro turf and into the lowest spot right next to the road.
It didn't stop the shoppers and it didn't stop the sellers. Good day for some. Not so good for others.
That's it for Quartzsite.... Tomorrow I hitch up and head down the road. Since it is about 250 miles to Tucson, I will probably break up the journey into two days. Maybe. A stop at the Elks in Gila Bend would be place for an over night stay without unhitching.
I'm going to miss this visit to the desert at Quartzsite. With Paul and Brian, the intellectual conversation, banter and humor has kept me entertained. They are planning to be in Florida next winter. Could I work that into my travel plans. I wonder.
Thursday, January 21. 2010
Once a month my mail is sent from Alternative Resources (my permanent address and mail forwarder) to a location near me. Sometimes that location is a post office. That is what I chose this time. The nearby town of Bouse would have been a better place to receive that mail since the line for General Delivery at Quartzsite was over an hour long.
Fortunately, Paul also had forwards to the post office. So we stood in line and chatted with others in the line. When things got slow, I shared selected photos from my 2009 travels which are on my iPod Touch.
Yesterday, Paul, Brian and I headed back downtown to Tyson Wells to see if we could separate ourselves from some of our money. With the RV show on in the big tent, there is congestion at the south traffic light (one of only two) in Quartzsite. This is the view of the traffic on the overpass approaching the traffic light.
The first section of Tyson Wells was rocks, decorative rocks, polished rocks, beads, rock spheres, carved rocks... and other carved objects including a cattle skull.
Fortunately, Paul was with us. He was the delegate shopper for our small group. He claimed the purchases were for his grand kids -- with the exception of the Hawaiian shirts for $5 each. Sorry. I didn't need any more.
Walking along there were frequent detours to some sham of some sort or another: bracelets to improve your balance; magnets for multiple problems, insoles to massage your feet; flax seed that will cure anything that may be ailing your body from arthritis to reducing cholesterol levels. As a group of skeptics, for us it was highly entertaining watching people separate themselves from their money. Fooling people has been going on since snake oil was found over 100 years ago -- and making money in the process.
As members of the SKP BoF Freethinkers, it seemed only appropriate for Paul to pose in this field of turtles. (Go to the web site and page down on the right hand side for why the turtle is the logo for the SKP Freethinkers.) More Freethinkers are expected at an informal get together at the Grubstake in Quartzsite on Friday.
Today -- it was weather. Predictions were for high winds and a 100% chance of rain. Predictions were right on. The rain fell most of the day. With the water flowing in the wash behind Wandrin Wagon, I wondered if this might be the annual rain fall for arid Quartzsite.
Hoping for better weather tomorrow as I head over to the RV tent to purchase the things that I avoided purchasing as impulse a few days ago. After internet research and chats with Paul and Brian, the purchase decisions have been made.
Monday, January 18. 2010
Quartzsite is... Flea Market... Garage Sale... RV Show... Rock Show... And more....
With lots of BLM land around Quartzsite, there are lots of places to boon dock the RV for two week -- or longer depending on the location and a few dollars in the camping budget. Wandrin Wagon is parked on Plomosa Road north of Quartzsite (for free). This is the view from atop Wandrin Wagon. Hate going up there. Acrophobia made this a quick photo op.
There is the garage sale -- or reasonable facsimile thereof.
With fuel costs and no raise in social security, here is an option to downsize my home on wheels.
How about rocks. The selection is endless. Wonder where to put some of these beautiful specimens of rock. Certainly Wandrin Wagon would not be a place for rock. Ballast is not needed.
Looking to decorate with wild animal parts, this booth had turtle shells, coyote bones, deer dews, buffalo teeth, animal skins, and much more.
Another day was spent checking out the RV show going on in the Big Tent. RV vacation plans, exploring Canada, kitchen gizmos and gadgets of all kinds (no Bamix), and lots of things that every RV owner should have -- or will have some day.
My current interest was in 12 volt LED lights. With lots of choices, it became confusing. Fortunately, friend Brian was here acting as consultant helping me sort through all the options. Brian had already gone through the replacement of incandescent fixtures in his home of wheels.
Brian was my personal chef when traveling the west coast in 2007. Quartzsite was a good place to meet up, catch up, and tell lots of stories. Since Brian had not seen some of the many tourist draws in the Quartzsite area, one of the first stops was at the Readers Oasis Bookstore where owner semi-nudist Paul Winer poses for photos. Since Brian declined to pose next to Paul, this photo from Diana's blog will have to substitute.
In Brian's previous visit to Quartzsite, he had not been to the Desert Bar. Since friend Paul arrived, a weekend journey was time for the three of us to head off to the Desert Bar to see the latest in the ever expanding complex. The complex has a small menu of burgers etc, a bar and for those so inclined -- dancing to the live music each weekend afternoon.
That was the end of the sunny weather in the low 70s. Started to rain -- last night. Raining again this evening. More of the same is predicted for the rest of the week. Really it is okay considering the alternatives. Having lots of fun -- every day.
Friday, January 8. 2010
Another visit to the zoo.
After a walk around through most of the zoo, I stopped at the gorilla viewing area and watched people watching gorillas. Taking photos through glass can be problematic -- especially when the gorillas were in the shade. Reflections on the glass show up in the photo.
Sitting around chewing on the vegetarian diet, the gorillas were watched from this side of the glass. Whenever the baby male gorilla did anything "cute", a collective "aaaww" rose from the audience -- mostly the ladies. The males and the kids in the audience just watched. Interesting observation.
A couple of the female gorillas were sitting with their backs to the window allowing a close up side view of their expressions as they watched other gorillas. At one point one of the gorillas started to pick its nose and proceeded to eat it. The expected collective groan from the adults resulted. Once again the ladies. Since they all saw it together, they had been trained to view that as disgusting so they registered their disgust publicly -- even though they all knew that they all participated in that practice. In private of course where no one could see them.
The gorillas were very similar in stature and coloring. There were small differences that I could detect, but they were slight. I had to do lots of comparing to see the differences. That wasn't the case on my side of the glass. Tall and short. Round and skinny. Blond and brunette. Dark and white skinned. Lots of variations in that human species.
That human variation included the mid thirties guy without shirt who wore a tattoo shirt -- literally. There wasn't a two inch square that wasn't covered with ink. The rest of the family had no tattoos -- the wife and two children -- at least that I could see.
Watching people watching gorillas was an enjoyable way to pass the time.
Some months back, I posted a review of the book Born to Run. The premise of the book was that we would do better to shuck the shoes and run barefoot. Although controversial, a recent study has shown that running barefoot may be better on the joints.
Monday, January 4. 2010
Positives in no particular order:
• If ready for a new book, just turn on the wireless on the Kindle and browse the Amazon store and download the selected book. (Needless to say the credit card is charged as soon as you click on “BUY”)
• No need for a bookmark. Last read page is always remembered.
• Read multiple books at the same time on the Kindle and last page is always remembered for all of them.
• The dictionary is ready to define words that may be unfamiliar. Just point to the word and the definition appears.
• A bar at the bottom of the unit displays the percentage of the book read. This can be misleading when there is footnote section, a large bibliography and index at the back of the book.
• Text can be made larger or smaller to meet aging eyes.
• Text to speech is another option for those with sight problems. That will consume the battery much more quickly.
• Can download the same books to the iPod Touch.
• All books downloaded to the Kindle (or iPod Touch) are kept track of by Amazon. Download the book from your archives if you want to read again.
• Since there is no way to make notations within the book, there is a “clippings” file created where selected text (with source information added automatically) can be saved. Additional notes may be “typed” to that file. That file can be copied to your computer.
• Free eBooks are available from several online sources. Just do a search for free eBooks to locate them. The one I visit most often is Gutenberg.org.
• Kindle is lightweight and easy to read in bed – with a bed side light.
Negatives in no particular order:
• It’s not a book. Going anywhere beyond the next page or preceding page is slow and cumbersome.
• It is impossible to enjoy books with photos, diagrams, charts, etc. There is no way to magnify the small print of a chart or the caption on a photo. (Magnifying the same material on the iPod Touch works)
• On some of the eBooks that I have read the text size would change periodically for no apparent reason that I could figure out. It can be highly annoying since I assume a change in type size indicates a quote or something other than the usual text.
• There is no way to read the Amazon Kindle eBooks on my computer. (Barnes and Nobles implementation does allow their eBooks to be read with their computer application.)
• Amazon Wishlist for my books is not accessible from the Kindle. At least I can't find a way.
• Since there was a free cookbook, I downloaded it for grins. Cookbooks are not something where I look at every page. Scanning is my usual approach and slow page presentation of the Kindle is not a good way to look for a possible recipe for the next meal.
• A tree based book would be a better solution for those non-fiction books with photos, diagrams and slides.
• A tree based book is also more suitable if checking foot notes at the rear of a book. The superscript for the footnote can be clicked on and the footnote will appear – sometimes. No doubt each publishers has a process to create eBooks and each may still be working out bugs.
• Tree based books are still read because they do not exist as eBooks. Great source is used book stores or even through Amazon and their used book suppliers.
Bottom line…. Options are great. Kindle for some books or choose the tree based book where appropriate.
Saturday, January 2. 2010
Enjoying Life is A Matter of Balance....
It is the same resolution every year. Maintaining balance in life is my goal. When I was working, it was not easy to meet the balance criteria between work and play. Working 47- 48 weeks a year with only a couple of weeks away was not the way I wanted to work. Hence I retired early. Then I could just forget about balance and play all the time.
Keeping balance between work and play is one area. (Not a problem any longer.) However keeping balance also applies to eating, exercise, or any other individual’s activity. Overeating and avoiding particular foods is not balance. (Perhaps I should balance Thai restaurants with a few others.) Devotion to the body beautiful is not balance. (Have you seen this body lately.) Having the greenest and manicured lawn is not balance. (Don't have the lawn. Love that plan.) Having a house completely clean at all times is not balance. (No problem with that. Denial works.)
Play is what I enjoy doing. That may be reading, hiking, word games, internet news sites, photography, etc. That manages to fill up the day. For me, life is all play. There are a few things that qualify as work. Cleaning Wandrin Wagon interior is one of those. The size would seem to indicate I could clean a bit more often. Dumping the RV holding tanks is done once a week. Laundry is done periodically when running short of clean items. Beyond that, there isn't much work in the life of this full time RVer.
Life is great.
Note about the image: This is one of many piles of balanced rocks located at the Durango end of the Colorado Trail.
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