Friday, June 17, 2016

One morning on the dig I arrived and found a sleepy lizard in the pit structure I was digging.

Wonder if lizards dream?

I caught it and put it outside the fence in a safe place.

Hello there.

All of the buckets have my name on them.

Homer's All Purpose Bucket.

I dug an area of what was thought to be a pit structure. One of the first things I found was an Empire Point, maybe 3,000 years ago. The Hohokam often picked up points and re-used them.

Empire Point.

The feature, which may or may not be a pit structure, had many pretty decorated sherds.

I attended a conference in Phoenix and got to spend the night at Craig and Jesse's house. We had Indian food. It was delicious. Afterward, I was asleep by 9 PM (I'm currently getting up at 4:15 AM.


Jesse and I.

So I wake up Sunday to the news of the massacre in Orlando. So tired of gun violence, internalized homophobia, religion, praying politicians, hypocritical politicians, etc. I called all of my elected people and asked them to do something. 

Richard and Hiram had asked me to go to the train show that day and we went to escape the news for a while, The train show turned out to be a bust, it was mostly dealers. We admired the Korean fabric sculptures. I took them to the Presidio Park and then we went to India Oven for Indian food.

Hiram and Richard.

Today, in the sweltering heat, Jenny and I worked on a 1920s outhouse pit at the dig site. A surprise find, filled with domestic trash. Lots of nasty tin cans, poorly preserved, rusted together. About 15 whole bottle though.

Some of the bottles.

I was surprised at how deep the outhouse pit was getting. And then I found a plaster nose, shortly afterward by pieces of a plaster statue. My co-workers described it as "creepy." And then I found a second identical statue, this time only broken in three pieces. It is a 1920s flapper girl.

The figurine.

The figurine is the type that you would get as a prize at a fair. It has hand-painted eyes with lavender eye shadow, she wears a turban, has an evening gown on. 

Close up.

I was worried that the outhouse pit was going to be too deep.

At the four foot level.

We can only dig down five feet before we have to strip back further to meet OSHA rules. The outhouse pit cuts through a Hohokam pit structure, which complicates things.

Jenny screening dirt.

Luckily, I found the bottom just past four feet. On Monday I get to finish the paperwork, map, and do a cross section.

That's if I survive the hellish weekend heat. Supposed to be 114.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I have fired a firearm once, when I was perhaps 12-years-old. That was enough.

When I was in my second year of graduate school at Arizona State University, one of the new students was Philip Zeigler. I instantly knew he was a fellow gay. He wore nice clothes and always too much cologne. His hair was always perfect. He was studying physical anthropology. We knew each other, but didn't become friends. Right at the end of the school year we went to a gay bar together and actually talked and had a good time.

Philip decided to take a year off and moved to Dallas and got a job working at a hotel. Right after midnight on January 1, 1990, he was walking home with a friend when they were confronted by three men who demanded their wallets at gunpoint. They handed them over and then Philip grabbed his back. One of the men shot him in the head. As he lay dying they called him a faggot and other names.

The police never made much of an effort to find the man who killed him, even though they had physical descriptions and fingerprints on the wallet. The Dallas police department wasn't particularly interested in finding out who killed gay men back then.

Before Philip's murder I didn't think much about firearms. Afterward, I have grown to hate them.

30,000+ people are murdered ever year in the United States from firearms. That is about 750,000 people since 1990. The politicians do nothing. Oh sure, they "pray" every time there is a mass shooting. But Republicans love the money the NRA funnels to them, so they will never do anything to stop the epidemic of killing.

You just wonder if it will happen to you, or to someone you know. I suppose it will, someday.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Well it is a bazillion degrees outside. Summer has arrived. I put the little window-mounted AC unit in and it is cranked up. Still, a couple of rooms away I am busy sweating.

 I went over and collected Patrick and we drove up to Richard's house to play pool volleyball. It was a lot of fun, although I am fairly sore at the moment.

David, Todd, Gordon, Mark, Roger, Richard, and Patrick.

I made an angel food cake (so easy!) and lemon curd to go on it. It was pretty tasty.

Today I went to work, stopping beforehand at Trader Joe's. Finishing up a report. Then home. Then to the hospital to visit Doug. Tomorrow out to dig until it gets too hot. 

Life continues. Still increasingly stressful. I may have to make some pretty drastic decisions soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wednesdays were hot dog day. I know this because my mother made the same thing for supper each night of the week and we learned my grandpa F. died (19 April 1972) while I was eating a hot dog. I remember I didn't want to finish it and my sister Susan telling me I should. Other nights my mother made hamburgers, hot dogs, spaghetti (one box each of Kraft American and Italian), macaroni and cheese, Spanish rice, sometimes those hard shell tacos with the mix, and once in a while canned chop suey with the little crispy noodles. When my father came home from truck driving she made him bologna sandwiches and the grossest goulash imaginable (macaroni noodles, hamburger meat, and stewed tomatoes. He hated spices so the food had to be bland.

Almost every night dessert was Jello with canned fruit. Often fruit cocktail, but also cherries and peaches. Breakfast was cereal and Tang orange drink. We had nasty dried milk. My mother was trying to make ends meet with five children on a long-haul truck driver's salary. She loved the innovative food industry products that were so popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

The only thing I make that my mother made is Spanish rice. But I had lots of hot sauce to it.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lately I just feel haggard. For various reasons I have been so stressed out. Last week I had a melt down and it wasn't pretty. You can only take so much drama and uncertainty before it becomes too much.

I look in the mirror and I see someone so tired. Sometimes I wonder if this is what a mid-life crisis looks and sounds like. But I don't have the cash to buy a new car or a fancy outfit.

One positive thing is that I finally paid off the trusty Ford Focus. Last night I came close to totaling it due to another driving who was probably driving drunk.

I try to stay positive and at moments that works. Tomorrow I am going to bake a cake and go to a party and maybe something will click.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Seven days of Jimbo. Jim arrived Wednesday afternoon while I was out digging. Doug was nice enough to go pick him up. It was four years since he was last here. That night of course we went to Rosa's. Jim enjoyed three enchiladas and two margaritas.


I went to work on Thursday. In the afternoon I took Jim over to the Old Adobe Guesthouse, where he had a very nice room to enjoy, without Puff walking over him in the middle of the night. That evening, we went to the bridge over the Rillito, at Campbell Avenue, to watch the bats fly out at dusk.

We arrived an hour early.

A few minutes before sunset the bats suddenly started flying out from small cracks beneath the bridge. Thousands and thousands of bats. It was very impressive.


I had been wanting to see this for a long time, but waited until Jim came to visit.

More bats.

Friday afternoon was Gay Mens Happy Hour, and I rode the streetcar and met up with Ray (Robert was stuck in traffic coming down from Phoenix). Patrick and Mark showed up. We had many fruity drinks and afterward ate at Delectables.

Homer, Ray, and Jim.

I dragged Jim up to the stage and he participated in a hula dancing competition. He lost to a woman who obviously knew what she was doing.


Saturday, Jim, Mark, and I went down to Ray and Robert's house to play in the pool. I got a little sunburnt and fell asleep at 8 PM.

Ray, Jordan, Robert, Mark, and Homer.

The next morning we went for a walk and took an embarrassing photograph.


Sunday evening was spent having drinks and chatting with Kamron and Patrick. It was a nice time. The next day I drove Jim up to the top of Mount Lemmon.

Jim looking at scenery.

It was 92 on the valley floor and 62 on top. Jim got to see several new species of birds.

He also got up close to some saguaro blossoms.

Tuesday he borrowed the trusty Ford Focus and drove down to Madera Canyon while I was digging. He got to see the very rare trogon, which was very exciting. That afternoon we stopped at the Presidio Park. The sun was very bright.

Jim posing in the park.

He flew back Wednesday. Doug, who was going to take him to the airport, ended up having appendicitis instead and I spent Thursday at the VA Hospital. Very dramatic. 

Monday, May 09, 2016

I purchased this photo from Ebay, taken between 1894 and 1901 in my hometown. I think the guy on the left is very cute.

Old photo.

Couple of weekends ago I went up to Phoenix and had supper with Craig, Jesse, and Mike. At a vegetarian restaurant. My fake Big Mac was tasty and the fries were great. The soy ice cream afterward was awful. Very trendy though.

Then we played board games. In the morning we went to the breakfast place and broke our fast.



I've been working out on an archaeology dig. Hohokam pit structures and pits, dating from about AD 500 to 700 and from around AD 1150 to 1300.

Tanque Verde style pottery, circa AD 1150 to 1300+.

I spent some time digging in soil mining pits, where people dug into the dirt to collect material to make adobe plaster. These pits then were filled with trash, either on purpose or washed in (the area was slightly down slope).

I found a spindle whorl. Originally it would have had a stick through it and it was used to spin cotton or agave fibers into thread.


Other side.

I worked on two pit structures dating to the early occupation of the site. One was difficult to dig because the same spot had been used for two houses. You can see various postholes, pits, and floor grooves in this picture, with the plastered hearth to the left of the meter stick. This is only slightly more than half of the house.

Pit structure.

The other house contained almost rock hard gravelly fill, very difficult to dig. It had a nice plastered floor though, and partially plastered walls. An old phone line ran through it. 

Also probably dates from around AD 500 to 700.

A little ground squirrel, apparently orphaned, was in the trench next to where I was working, crying out "cheep, cheep." I picked it up and put it back, later I gave it to Katie who is now bottle feeding it. It was very cute.

Ground squirrel.


And in other news, yesterday was Mother's 84th birthday, and also Mother's Day. There is some turmoil going on back in Michigan. Honestly, it is just tiresome.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Post 2,700.

Slightly more than six months to the election. I voted for Hillary Clinton in the Arizona primary. I will vote for her in the general election on November 8.

I have acquaintances who are Bernie Sanders supporters. Some of them post ridiculous articles on Facebook. Every day I learn how satanic Mrs. Clinton is. Every single thing she does is evil. I've had to block several people's posts because the bullshit just gets too much to handle.

The most childish of these folks are the ones saying they won't vote in the election if Sanders doesn't get the nomination. Temper tantrums are for little kids.

I had a favorable impression of Bernie Sanders. I went to one of his rallies in Phoenix and agreed with what he had to say. The favorable impression has withered away in the last couple of weeks due to both things he has said and the blabbering of his supporters.

Six more months. SIGH.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The birds are chirping outside, Spring is here, rapidly moving toward Summer. The creosotebush is blooming, the flowers turning into little fluff balls.


In my backyard the cacti are blooming too. It didn't freeze much this year and the cacti are enormous.

Prickly pear.

Buddy follows me around when I am watering or inspecting things.

Buddy stretches.

I've been out digging for the last three weeks. One of the weeks was spent at a site that is quite famous that I had never been too before. It had adobe-lined pithouses. I dug in trash areas and trash-filled pits. I screened a lot of dirt through 1/8-inch mesh and found many tiny animal bones, rodents, lizards, snakes, and small birds. I also found six beads, five in the 1/8-inch mesh (we usually screen dirt using 1/4-inch mesh). The beads were made from shell, stone, and turquoise.

Archaeologists at work.

April is the month of events. Every weekend one or two days are spent preparing for and/or attending events. I was hoping it would calm down in May, but I already have one event to do.

Cannon firing at the park.

Back at the second dig site I dug 1m by 2m control units in two pithouses. We excavate control units to see what it in the houses, and to have samples to compare to other houses. As I was digging through chunks of fallen adobe from the walls and roof of one of the houses, this enormous shell bracelet fragment popped out, dating to sometime between AD 1150 to 1300. Like the other artifacts we uncover, it will go to the museum for curation.

Shell bracelet.

Archaeology isn't all exciting finds. Yesterday the wind blew like crazy in the afternoon and I was covered in dust, so uncomfortable. What looks like tan skin is actually a layer of dirt. You should see what I blew out of my nose.


Friday, April 01, 2016

Happy 16th Birthday Puff!

He looks great for a cat his age and is as spry as ever.


He and Snowball celebrated by taking naps and getting cuddles when I got home from work.

Snowball is only six.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It is Spring-Time in Tucson. My allergies have gone crazy.

I am out working on a dig at a prehistoric site. First we had to get things ready.

Archaeology is always glamorous.

I was invited to an Easter Party and made a quiche and a lemon meringue pie.

Lemon meringue.

I made friends with a donkey.


On Monday I noticed through my office window that the friendly ground squirrel had woken up from hibernation and I gave it some bird seed.

Ground squirrel.

The native palo verde trees are blooming. Very lovely yellow flowers.

Palo verdes have green bark.

My backyard doesn't have a large amount of blooming plants. I used to have many wildflowers, but the overgrown state apparently killed many of them off. Other things are blooming.


Unidentified yellow plant.

I spent Tuesday scraping backhoe trench walls, looking for prehistoric features. I found a small pit with some Hohokam pottery. I came home very dirty.


Today was bug day. First a very large spider, which I rescued and took away from where we were working.

Spider, about 2.5 inches across.

As I was digging a large centipede, about four inches long, came crawling out of the dirt. My entomologist friend Doug identified it.

Scolopendra heros- giant centipede

I did not touch it. I do not care for centipedes, but I moved it away from where I was at. I don't like to kill insects.


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