Saturday, October 31, 2009

My new hat.

Grandpa F. used to wear a hat like this.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ralph touched everything in these pictures. I told him I would write that. Coincidentally, Ralph lived in Stargard, Poland, a small town of 71,000 people which I visited in 1998 while traveling to see the tiny town nearby where my ancestors came from in 1862.

So today was our last day of digging at my current project and Steve was stripping alongside an enigmatic stone foundation and found the corner of an adobe brick house, one that appears on the 1883 fire insurance map. I was wondering if I would find this house, we had already found the nearby adobe brick warehouse/ore sampling works that appears on the maps. The 1883 map also has a small building labeled "W.C." for Waste or Water Closet. This was an outhouse, privy, or latrine (people call them different things). Basically, before indoor plumbing, people went outside and sat on a seat over a pit and pooped.

The map doesn't have a scale, but a nearby street was labeled as being 80 feet wide and coincidentally the width of the street matched the distance from the corner of the house to the outhouse. So I measured it off and had Steve strip over the area with the backhoe and like a miracle, up popped a bottle and a bunch of ash. So we had found the outhouse pit on the map. Actually, as it turned out, we found two outhouse pits, an earlier one and another cutting into the earlier one.

Jim and Steve completing the excavation of the outhouses.

Archaeologists like to find outhouse pits because they tend to have two things. At the bottom will be a layer of poop and you can take a sample of it and throw it in water and seeds float to the top, which can then be identified. You can find out what people were eating from this, as well as any animal bones tossed in or food or beverage bottles.

T. A. Slocum bottle, for consumption or lung disease.

Above the poop layer (which is often very green), will usually be a layer of trash thrown out after the pit was no longer in use. You typically find a lot of stuff that can often be linked to a particular household or family, in this case the people who lived at the house next to the warehouse/ore sampling works.

Botica de la Providencia, Pedro Guerroro, Acambaro, CTO (sorry it is blurry, Botica is "Pharmacy").

The items discarded can tell you a lot about the lives of residents. In the upper outhouse we found medicine for tuberculosis (consumption). We also found medicine bottles with Spanish writing on them in both outhouses, probably suggesting that a Mexican family lived in the house.

Chamber pot lid.

Lots of interesting stuff including dishes (mostly undecorated), lamp chimneys, two human teeth, many small tooth paste bottles, and clothing buttons.

Brass pocket watch.

In the weeks ahead I will be analyzing the artifacts to identifying when the outhouses were filled, what ethnicity the people were, and what their socio-economic status was. Science!

Large porcelain doll head.

The presence of doll heads and a marble indicate that a girl and possibly a boy formed part of the family.

Tiny Frozen Charlotte baby.

Brent asked what happens to the site after we are done. In this case it is the location planned for a new parking structure. So the remaining ruins will be destroyed during construction. Luckily, we will have documented most of the site with out maps, notes, and photographs and collected a fair amount of artifacts, which will go to the museum for storage after my report is prepared.

We journeyed across town to Sandy, Mark, and Zane's house for the Pumpkin Carving Fiesta. Earlier I had come home from the dig and frantically made a white cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting for Patrick's belated birthday. I taught Forrest how to make the tomato-basil-red onion-mozzarella salad that everyone really likes. He sliced the vegetables carefully.

Patrick's bday cake.

Once at the S/M/Z estate we had veggie lasagna, a leafy salad, and the before-mentioned salad before we began to carve pumpkins. Before that we had an intense discussion, do you call it frosting or icing?

Forrest, Sandy, and Mark.

I was completely, utterly tired from being outside all day and I will admit, my pumpkin carving skills suffered.

Patrick slicing.

In contrast, the other guys did much better.

Forrest carves the tiny pumpkin I picked for him.

Some people showed surprising skills, especially since they are from a country that (zounds!) does not have Halloween!

Mark s work of art.

I managed to stay awake long enough to see most people's pumpkins completed and have a slice of cake (came out pretty good I boast).

Mark, Patrick, Forrest, Homer, Sandy, and Forrest.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Did you find any gold yet? People always ask archaeologists this, or whether we are looking for dinosaurs. And we always say, "No, we never find any gold." Or, "Paleontologists look for dinosaurs, not archaeologists."

Well today, we didn't find any dinosaurs, but as Benny was cleaning out an old ceramic sewer pipe he found a gold ring.

Gold ring, modeled by yours truly.

It was as bright and shiny today as it was probably 50 or 60 years ago, when someone dropped it into a sink or toilet. The design on it suggests to me that it was made in Mexico.

The dig is winding down, we are clearing out the last of the dirt around the brick foundations. Today I worked with the backhoe as we stripped dirt off of another area, tracing lines of brown and gray adobe bricks for a warehouse completed in September 1880.

Southern Pacific clubhouse (brick foundation), circa 1904, and washroom (concrete foundation), circa 1920s.

It has suddenly turned cold here- highs in the 50s tomorrow. I am wearing my red longjohns as I type this.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What kind of Halloween candy do you like? I am on a Payday mini candy bar frenzy myself.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I wore my orange t-shirt on our excursion to the pumpkin patch. We drove west on Ajo Road until we reached Buckalew Farms.

Farmer Zane.

Sandy, Mark, and Zane accompanied me on the adventure. I made Zane pose for silly pictures. We ate freedom fries and fresh caramel corn and I still feel bloated hours later. The place was crawling with DILFs.

The four of us then stumbled through the corn maze. The concept was more exciting than the actual experience. I found someone's walky talky and I had the bright idea of having Zane talk to the other person with a walky talky. They were amazed that we returned it to them, a pair of nerdy teenagers.

The maze.

We then got on a tractor-pulled wagon and went out to the pumpkin patch.

Sandy, Mark, the caramel corn, and Zane.

The pumpkin patch was enormous.

My shadow.

We each chose a pumpkin. I got two, one for Forrest.





The only disappointment was not getting to ride in the wagon pulled by the hot farmer.

The hot farmer.

Later this week, pumpkin carving.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Allen found a charming artifact in the outhouse pit he is excavating.

Mexican painted duck.

It may be a piggy bank, but we haven't found all of the pieces yet (it does have four legs though). We have to wait until the backhoe pulls back the surrounding area because we have reached the five ft level, and we are very careful about following OSHA rules.

We have almost finished exposing the foundations of the railroad club house.

Two rows of floor joist supports run down the center of the building.

Nearby we cut a trench and found the railroad ice house. The floor is 6.5 ft below the ground surface, we measured a section before filling the trench back to the 5 ft level. The ice house was filled in around 1905-1910, and they merely knocked the adobe brick walls over into the deep pit. In three places we could see the adobe bricks lying in place.

Looking into the trench, stacked chocolate brown adobe bricks in the side wall.

And in utterly unrelated news- Brian sent me a t-shirt:

No comment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I started a new archaeology project. We are working downtown next to the new underpass. The area was a dirt lot and I wasn't expecting to find much, thinking the area had probably been very disturbed. Of course I was wrong.

The historic fire insurance maps for Tucson, which begin in 1883, indicate that a warehouse, the Southern Pacific Railroad ice house, and a house were on the land between 1883 and the 1890s. These were replaced by a club for Southern Pacific employees around 1904, with this building standing until sometime after 1940 (I have not done the archival research on the property yet).

Yesterday we dug a backhoe trench down the length of the property and immediately started finding outhouse (privy) pits and brick wall foundations.

Brick foundations of the crew club.

The club foundations were made from bricks and were very well preserved. We can see where the porch wrapped around the building and where the floor joists were placed. In the picture above you can see a large green stain to the left of the bucket, lying beneath the foundations. This may be part of the railroad ice house, we haven't dug into it yet.

Poop tends to turn bright green when buried for a long time, and in the picture below you can see the shaft of an outhouse pit that was later built over by the club building.

Green outhouse dirt (click on picture to see better).

Allen and Benny are working on another outhouse pit. After about four feet of fairly clean fill dirt, dumped in to fill the shaft, they finally hit a layer of artifacts including a cup made in Japan, a Mexican animal-shaped vessel (perhaps a piggy bank), a decorated O'odham water jar, and chicken bones. This outhouse may turn out to be very rich in terms of the artifact content.

Tyler maps in the outhouse pit.

It is always nice to make unexpected, interesting finds.

And in other news, the chocolate pudding and chocolate whipped cream I made last night were extra awesome.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There is proof that I won $9.00 at the casino in Las Vegas. It takes only a bit more than an hour to fly there, and if you are lucky you will have handsome men like Jim and George waiting for you at the airport.

And if you are lucky you will get to go see interesting places like the Valley of Fire, with strange rock formations.

Valley of Fire.

It was quite warm while we were there, and the name was appropriate.

Not the best shoes for hiking.

Along the trail there were a lot of prehistoric petroglyphs. Did you know I wrote a book about rock art?

Rock art (click on picture to see close up).

It was a pleasant way to spend the day.

George and Jim.

That night George made supper, homemade pasta sauce. The shredded carrots were delicious in it. He is an excellent cook. I felt right at home.

The next day we flew to Paris.

Paris casino.

Actually, we walked the Strip in Las Vegas and people watched and looked at the casinos. They seem to be doing alright, but the stores all seem like they are struggling.

Men with facial hair.

We stopped to pee at one place and I insisted on playing the Price is Right machine.

Gambling is a sin.

On my last quarter I won $10, so I made a profit of $9.

The Price is Right.

Afterwards we went home and I was all tired out.


It was a nice weekend and I had an excellent time with my buddies. I hope to see them again soon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I am having fun in Las Vegas visiting Jim and George. I won 10 cents at the casino. I am not going to spend it all in one place.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yesterday I had a surprise visit from Mason and his friend Jesse, who had come down to Tucson to visit the International Wilddeath Museum. That museum is run by a bunch of safari hunters who allegedly get tax write-offs by donating the stuffed carcasses of animals to the museum. And the theme of the museum is conservation. Uh huh, right...

Anyhows, they stopped by as I was starting to make hummous and then cream of asparagus soup. Both came out nice, although if I make the asparagus soup again I will peel the stalks at the base to get rid of the fiber there.

I introduced Jesse to my chicken, and we posed for a picture.

Henny Penny and Homer, photo by Mason.

One more month before Mummy comes for the winter. She will be glad to escape Michigan and get spoilt by me. I just got a gluten-free baking cookbook, and will be trying out some new recipes for her. Plus my Martha Stewart Cupcake cookbook has two cupcakes without flour, so I will be making those for her.

What's up next? Las Vegas with Jim and George!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So Jason made a cute video with a couple of his buddies. They had a fun time doing so, and lordy, the reaction they have got.

Many guys are like me- ohmigod, entertaining and those men are sexxxxxxy.

And then there are the critics. Many gay men are so fucking terrified that the straight folks will think they are gay. Because every single gay man must be straight-acting and butch and never, ever have a spot of non-masculine behavior in them.


The people who hate us for the most part will hate us whether we lip synch to Dionne Warwick or to Johnny Cash. And uniformity is hell.

And guys who like to suck cock should skip passing judgment on which guys are too gay. Last time I checked, straight guys don't suck.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Sandy!

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A weekend of friends, cats, and pudding.

Friday night I had supper with Mark and Ahmet. We sat around afterwards and discussed many different topics. I should never eat spaghetti- the sauce always flies everywhere.

Mark and Ahmet.

Saturday I picked up around the house and visited with Forrest, who is slowly recuperating from his tonsilectomy. It is very painful for him to eat anything. The pain pills only can do so much.

Forrest and Puff.

Snowball is almost all grown up, although his permanent teeth are still coming in. He is going to get some shots soon, I wonder whether he will scream in the car (Puff and Joey do). He has something wrong with his lungs, after he runs around in the house he pants loudly. I suspect it is because when I found him in the backyard he was half-starved and maybe his little lungs didn't get fully grown.

Snowball, lounging.

Saturday was Tucson Pride and I went with Steve and did not take my camera. We had an excellent time.

The highlight of yesterday was making Forrest some butterscotch pudding. Surprisingly easy to make and very delicious. He had three bowls.

Butterscotch pudding.

I sat on the couch with Mama Cat and Joey and watched the Amazing Race and was disappointed with who was eliminated.

Mama Cat and Joey.

In the office again this week, out in the field next week. The weather is lovely and I'm excited to go to Las Vegas for the weekend. Lots of things to do before Mummy gets here November 16.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So the President spoke to the Human Rights Campaign peoples and they had orgasms over the things he said and conveniently overlooked the many things he didn't say. Mr. Obama is a politician and wants to be re-elected in 2012 so he is being a professional politician and I can understand that. What I cannot understand is the HRC.

What the fuck has this group done? How many millions of dollars has it sucked in, for what purpose? Joe Solomonese got $299,500 in salary and $38,900 in benefits in 2008. Holy crap, that is a lot of fucking money (over a $1,000 a day, every time he poops at the office he makes $20 or $30 dollars).

I'm sure it is fun to dress up in fancy dresses and tuxedos and get invited to fancy parties and fundraisers where you get patted on the back for raising money that drops into some black hole and pays the salaries of lobbyists who want to keep their jobs so they mouth platitudes but don't advance any gay rights issues too far because once they get those rights squared away there won't be a need for those lobbyists and there won't be fancy parties where the President speechifies and says nada. I prefer to give my dollars to the local GLBT groups here in Tucson, because I know they are doing real things with their money.

In other awe-inspiring news, I attended Tucson Gay Pride where I saw a wide variety of people in a wide variety of attire (some very creative outfits, I must say). Beer was expensive but the profits went to help pets get spayed and neutered, so I had a few to help promote pet genital mutiliation. I got the first in a series of hepatitis shots, something that was quick and easy to do. I loom forward to never acquiring hepatitis. I saw friends that I hadn't seen for a while and several of them complimented me on how skinny I was. So when I came home I made Forrest a strawberry milkshake (his throat still hurts horrible) and I am sure every calorie in the milkshake I had attached itself onto me.

Happy Birthday Joe!

Friday, October 09, 2009

I was very disappointed that I did not win a Nobel Prize this year, I had every expectation that it would happen. I guess I will not be wearing a fancy tuxedo, not that I have ever worn a tuxedo. That is on my list of things to do. If I was in a tuxedo, I think I would definitely have tails and a tophat.

Fall has arrived in Tucson and the weather is so nice. I wish whatever is making pollen would stop, because I am a firehose of snot today. But I will survive.

Forrest had his tonsils out on Monday and I have made him dark chocolate and tapioca pudding. We agreed, the dark chocolate was much better. Poor guy, his throat hurts something awful. His mom is here to help take care of him, tomorrow I am taking them to the Presidio Park to do something cultural.

I'm going to hang out with Mark and Ahmet tonight, maybe I will be naughty and eat something fattening.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I've updated my blog list. A lot of the longtime blogs that I have read have passed on. And I have been meaning to add a handful, especially people who regularly comment on here. Some of the new ones:

American House Location Unknown - my friend Chris collects architectural images.

Beauty of All Things- Robert's beautiful images, text, and music.

Gorgim - Jim's blog reminds me of my own. I can't wait to meet him and George next week.

Lady Bunny - my go to unusual videos.

Sunnyside in Bayside - Seth's adventure in renovating a historic house.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Joey really hates having her picture taken.

Smile for the camera, biatch!

I am making chocolate pudding tonight from scratch for Forrest, who had his tonsils removed yesterday. I forgot to buy whipping cream, so a trip to Safeway is required. Perhaps I will buy bananas too. This is the dreamy life I have.

Confidential to "DS": Any comment you leave will be deleted. Why don't you start your own blog so people can criticize you?

Monday, October 05, 2009


Sunday, October 04, 2009

At last night's end-of-dig party it took forever to bust open the pinata. Finally someone said I should try and with one mighty whack with the croquet mallet, the poop-shaped pinata exploded. Yes, poop-shaped. It was made to commemorate the end of the sewer plant dig.

My chocolate mayonnaise cake with crispy coconut frosting was devoured and I forgot to take a picture of it. I also brought along a curry and spicy bean wraps.

Today I scrubbed my floors, is that what my kitchen floor really looks like? I also tried to figure out some stuff on my computer, but was largely unsuccessful. Someone who I don't know told me I was a dick, which was a puzzlement, since I don't know this man. But this is the way life often is.

Tomorrow should be my last day digging at the sewer plant and then into the office where I will have to put a big sign on the snack drawer- "No Snacks, No Shame!" I will also be going back to the gym to maintain my manly figure.

Friday, October 02, 2009

In two weeks I'll be going to Las Vegas to visit Jim and George. I am very excited to meet them in person and spend a few days in a place I know little about. I went to Las Vegas back in 1993 or 1994 with the old roommate, and let's just say I hated every moment (he was a gambling addict).

In other news, it is finally cooling down here in Arizona. My mother is arriving November 16 for a long winter's stay (3-4-5 or 6 months?). Allergies are almost back to normal. Finishing up work at the sewer plant, what a cool project that was. Some other work is lining up so I will continue to have employment and provide a roof for the cats and Henny-Penny.

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