Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm probably the last blogger to see Brokeback Mountain. To me it is a movie about what ifs. I've spent some time on that subject, sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I had chosen to live somewhere besides Arizona.

I've lived in Wyoming twice. Once for two months in the Grand Tetons Park. Beautiful place, especially when they close the park at the end of tourist season. All the animals come out of hiding. In the morning the pair of bull moose would watch us as we drove by. One day we found the tracks of a mama bear and her cub at our site. Some mornings a family of otters would lazily swim by the place we were digging.

The second time I lived for five months in Rawlins and Rock Springs. Couple of things the movie got right. The wind blows constantly, all day long. Steady one direction until about two o'clock, then a lull, then it reverses direction. Sometimes the grains of sand whip across your face and cut like glass. Sometimes you wonder what the fuck you are doing digging in some oilfield or coal mine when the wind was sliding up your sleeves or down the back of your neck. The sheer desolation of the place- all of the boarded up stores and such. When Walmart opened in Laramie all of the little small stores promptly shut. I remember using the library in Rawlins and when I was moved to my new jobsite in Rock Springs I stopped in and gave them fifty dollars to buy some new books. The librarian about cried.

I never saw a gay cowboy when I was there, maybe I wasn't looking in the right place or maybe they don't really exist. I tell you what, if a Heath Ledger-look-a-like was standing around chewing on a piece of straw I might be tempted to buy him a beer.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Okay so the Stupor Bowl is this coming weekend and the media has started making a big hoohaa about it (even on Martha Stewart's show), but I've never figured out what is so exciting about football.

Except for Brett Favre.

Gosh, he's a cute one. I remember seeing him shirtless in Something About Mary. Yowza. He looks even cuter all scruffed out, I know Jimbo agrees with me on this (Brett is mentioned 11 times on Jimbo's blog, in case you are wondering).

If more football players were dreamy and adorkable like Brett, why I might be tempted to watch.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Technology is great, except for when it isn't working. Today my cell phone battery decided to bite the dust. And then my digital camera LCD screen died. I'll be without my camera for up to two weeks. I love that lil camera, I've taken many interesting pictures with it, including the one I use on my computer screen:

Homer's computer screen, "Lupines at Picacho Peak."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I can smell the pumpkin pie as it bakes. It is a ready-made store bought one, after all I did spend the day working (we had 368 people come to today's Open House at the dig). But I still feel like it is cheating.

Having Mummy here means I do a lot more cooking than when I'm by myself. I try to be creative and plan nutritious meals. Tonight, though, was Kraft mac-n-cheese and some mixed frozen veggies. Mummy isn't used to the healthy food and as expected, she has lost some weight. Yesterday she told me her butt has shrunk. Way too much info.

Meanwhile, Mollie wanders around looking for food. How did I acquire a dog? Vince came to eat dinner and said, "Oh there's my dog!" but doesn't seem to mind that she has moved into my house. As I type this she is noisily drinking from her bowl. When I get back from work we play wrestle and she is happy to see me. When Mummy leaves to go back to Michigan it will be nice to have Mollie around.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I'm having an open house at my dig site this weekend so I buzzed my hair and beard because both were getting unruly. My mother says I look younger. It was shocking to tip the little hand-held mirror up and see just how bald I'm getting. Pretty soon I'll have to buy a toupee!!!

No, really, I think I'll buy a DVD instead. Much more practical and it won't blow off in the wind.

Speaking of flying hair, tonight I splurged and got hairball control cat food. Maybe it will work and I won't have nasty ole hairballs in unexpected places.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

In November, after she arrived, my Mother and I watched Lost and Invasion together. She grimaced and asked me why I watched those awful shows, "They are so unrealistic!" Of course the mystery novels she likes to read are completely accurate.

Fast forward to January. Yesterday Mummy asks me, "Isn't this the day your shows are on?" Later as I watch Lost I notice she is knitting instead of reading. Duringa commercial she asks me, 'What station is this?" I answer, "ABC." A moment later I asked her, 'Why did you wonder what station it was?" She answered, "Oh, if I happen to get hooked on these shows I want to watch them at home." Hmmmmmmm.

Oh, and another thing, please visit BoltGirl and say hello.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Two thousand years ago, the people living in Tucson built small, round houses. They dug shallow pits, most only two or three feet deep. Around the edges of these pits they used digging sticks to make small holes to place saplings in. They bent the saplings and tied their ends together, basically creating an upside-down basket. The outside was covered with bundles of grass and reeds and mud was plastered over this, creating a small house usually 10 to 12 feet in diameter.

We finished uncovering one of these houses today on our dig.

2,000-year-old pithouse.

On the floor were a scatter of artifacts including an unusual grinding stone and a shell bead, left behind when the house caught fire and burned.

If my house caught fire I'd grab the cats and my computer hard drive. If I had a few moments more I'd empty out my china cabinet, which is filled with family heirlooms, and grab three paintings in my living room. Most everything else could burn up. It is too bad some future archaeologist couldn't find my house- I wonder what they would think of my stuff?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I really wonder what creeps like Jerry Falwell and Karl Rove would think of me if they met me. I am everything they apparently despise- a big ole fag, a social liberal, a fiscal conservative, an environmentalist, vegetarian, atheist, a believer in equal opportunity (affirmative action if necessary).

Our country is going through a really, really strange time. I guess the last time like this was during the early 1950s, when politicians saw Communists hiding everywhere. Now it is terrorist hiding everywhere, but really, how many are there? How much unregulated power do we want to give Bush and his buddies? Does anyone really trust that crowd anymore?

I think about what the hard-core conservatives want- no abortion or sex ed, state-endorsed religion, reduced scientific studies, no environmental laws, capital punishment for a variety of crimes, no homosexuals, no affirmative action, fewer taxes for rich folks, etc... Is this the United States? We used to have the rest of the world look up to us. Now I'm not so sure.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm having a hard time keeping track of all of the young 20-something celebrity girls. Lindsay and Hillary and Ashlee and Britney and Kiera and that other one, WhatsHerName. Oh that's Shakira or Beyonce. Did you see that interview with Cher and Chastity, ohmy what ever happened to Chastity?

So yeah, I have the same problem with the young guy celebrities because I don't have fancy cable and I'm missing the Sci Fi Fridays, which when I had fancy cable I didn't get because the local cable at my house prefered Hallmark and Lifetime channels instead. And once you've seen one Lifetime made-for-tv movie of the week, what's the point of watching another one.

Except in 20 years Lindsay and Hillary and Ashlee and the rest will be starring in their own made-for-tv Lifetime channel movies, if they are lucky enough to escape the anorexia or bulimia, which Chastity certainly did.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Etiquette question. What is the best way to tell someone they have really, really bad breath???

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Instead of going to see the gay cowboy movie I went to see Siriana instead. That movie pretty much sucks. The only worthwhile thing was seeing Matt Damon, who is still rather cute in a dorky kinda way.

I made New York Times macaroni and cheese, 4-bean salad, spinach salad, and chocolate tapioca pudding for dinner for Mummy and Brady. The pudding was especially good. Seeing Brady, who has now officially moved to Tucson, was the best.

Bittersweet chocolate tapioca pudding.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Archaeology Episode. The first thing we did at work was to have Sam take us up to the roof of the adjoining 11-story building so I could take some overhead shots of our excavation.

Boarding house foundation, circa 1890s.

I needed pictures before we removed a section of the foundation to uncover the rest of a 1000-year-old pithouse. There were immense rocks to move- some were over two feet in diameter. I'm so glad I have plastic mesh in my insides to keep my intestines from bulging out.

In another area we are opening a trench through yet another trash-filled adobe mining pit from the 1890s- they loved to dig holes to make mud-bricks and they loved to fill them with often interesting garbage.

Chinese or Japanese teapot.

I drove people crazy by pointing out several salient features of this artifact. "Look, it's short and stout. Here is the handle, here is the spout!"


The 1890s saw the Aesthetic style, with a huge influence from Asia. The style of decoration of ceramics switched from scenes of castles and ruins to vignetes of sampans, bamboo, insects, fans, and birds, often elaborately piled up on top of each other.

Gin bottle.

Most of the glass bottles we find don't have labels- these decompose quickly. However, for some reason a small number survive. This Black Friars gin bottle has an image of a monk and also text indicating it won a medal in a health competition in 1884.

Alright, we now return to our normal programming. In tomorrow's episode I'm off to see that queer cowboy movie.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I never do those meme things, but AngryBlackBitch tagged me and she is a righteous person, so here it goes. Name five weird habits:

1). I brush my teeth in a very specific way, similarly I floss in a very specific way.

2). I have to sleep with my feet sticking out from beneath the covers.

3). I like to balance my checkbook once a week and it has to be exactly correct. I have a computer program with every transaction since 1993.

4). Sometimes I organize my shirts by color, pattern, and material.

5). I like to put things off to the last moment, but I am also super-efficient under pressure.

Actually, I don't really have a lot of bad habits.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Brrrr, it is freezing here. I carried my potted plants inside this afternoon, since it is supposed to go down to 28 degrees in Tucson tonight. It is always a few degrees cooler at my house, next to the mountains.

Today was my "Sunday" (since I'm working Tuesday-Saturday at the moment), but I still ended up working a few hours. I came back and took a nap. Other activities included washing my broken ceramic pieces for the mosaic project Mummy and I will be doing. Of course Joey suddenly had to throw up so what did she do? Ran her little furry self right over to where the ceramics pieces are drying and puked all over them. Nice. She looked up at me afterwards quite satisfied. What is it about cats having to vomit on rugs/couches/beds/piles of broken ceramics???

Then Mummy broke the new vintage toaster I got yesterday. And then I broke my vintage Sunbeam juicer attachment bowl. Sigh. Luckily I got on Ebay and found a replacement in about five minutes for $6.99. I love Ebay.

I made oatmeal raisen cookies also. I used the regular Better Homes & Garden recipe and added lots of extra things. Mummy ate three or four, which may or may not be a good thing since she seems to be suffering from Homerzuma's revenge.

Oops, she came in and looked over my shoulder as I typed this and discovered Homer'sWorld. Amazingly enough, she knew that it was a blog. See what she is missing out by refusing to use a computer!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I've been a horrible son and not done a lot with Mummy. She understands though, I'm so tired when I get home from the dig that I hardly have energy to do anything. Last night I fell asleep at 7 PM and slept for 11 hours.

Today, after doing my weekend chores, I announced we were going to Bisbee. So I fired the Saturn up and away we drove.

Bisbee is a small mining town southeast of Tucson. It was established in 1880 or so and has a couple of gigantic open pit copper mines next to it. Today it is mainly a tourist town.

Bisbee's main street.

So many cute miners' houses cling to the steep slopes along the various valleys that run down to the downtown. If I had an extra 100k I would buy me a weekend house. However, I don't have that extra money, but thanks to several nice antique stores, I do have a set of Christmas-themed cookie cutters from the 1950s, a 1950s chrome toaster, and a very warm knit hat.

The road cuts east of the town, next to the mining pits, are very colorful.

Mummy bought herself a tea kettle, for which I am sure she paid too much, but I didn't feel like arguing with her about it.

Mummy and Homer, the latter modeling his new hat.

The drive home went fast, the sun setting as we neared my house. It is supposed to cool down here tonight and tomorrow- highs only in the low 60s. I'm going to wear my new hat to work Tuesday morning.

Tucson sunset.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I know that fewer people reading this blog are interested in archaeology versus naked volleyball pool parties. However, pool season is over and I'm out running a dig so that's that. Right now we are working in an area with one or two prehistoric pithouses. Many interesting artifacts including the following:

Hohokam figurine head.

Side view.

It's interesting how abstract the face looks- I think Picasso would have been impressed. About 1,000 to 1,200-years-old, the figurine fragment was probably once painted and may have had feathers or cloth dressing it. A few days ago we found a figurine body nearby and they may fit together.

Near the figurine head we found a large pit and lying inside was the following:

Jar sherds.

I don't know prehistoric pottery, so I can't tell you the exact age of this piece. Our ceramic person at work should be able to do so, based upon the style of the design.

Jumping ahead in time, in the following picture you can see soil layers that correspond to hard ground surfaces, tamped down by hand, that were made next to the homes of people who lived in Tucson between about 1783 and the 1860s. A large barbeque pit is also visible.

Soil profile.

In another area we are digging up trash dating to the 1890s.

A spittoon.

A pickled celery bottle with a partial paper label.

There will be more naked volleyball pool party pictures in May, I promise.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Well boo-hoo-hoo. [A political post, to warn those who skip such thangs] Here in the Christian States of America, we are having a little confirmation hearing for the next Supreme Court justice. Yesterday the candidate, Samuel Alito, was questioned about his past membership in a Princeton alumni group that was formed to prevent women and minorities from attending that august school. Of course he doesn't remember being a member. I am pretty sure I can tell you the name of every group I've ever been part of, and probably tell you one or more interesting facts about my association with each. But perhaps Sam's memory aint so grand.

As if on cue his wife, dear Martha Ann Bomgardner, burst into tears, distraught over the harsh questions. The three largest newspapers in Arizona carried the story and pictures on their front pages, suggesting that those mean old Ted Kennedy-Demoncrats caused her lil hissy fit.

Crybaby Martha.

How come I never get this kinda press when I cry? Holy batshit, I would have been on the front page for weeks after I got dumped in 2002. Or when Mama Cat ran away, or when I had dry socket, etc. Whimper. Did you see that tear seep out? Do you remember Anita Hill? She didn't cry when the Repugnant-icans attempted to make mincemeat of her during the Clarence Thomas hearings.

Perhaps I am overly skeptical of the Way Things Are Nowadays. But the whole incident seems so staged, so carefully orchestrated.

Anyways, I could really give a shit if Martha Ann Bomgardner dramatically sobs when her former-member-of-a-now-forgotten-racist-group husband gets asks a few pointed questions. He is about to be given a life appointment to our nation's highest court and his actions will likely induce many more real tears than the plastic ones squeezed out of Martha's tear ducts.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

In 1862, Friedrich and Frederike left their small village in Prussia and traveled to Hamburg, where they boarded the S. S. Robert Peel. No one knows why they left- perhaps they were seeking a better life, perhaps they were escaping high taxes or military conscription. Friedrich had been trained as a master tailor, going through an apprenticeship program. He would later work as a farmer and I doubt his tailoring skills ever saw much use.

On the long voyage across the ocean the couple's youngest child died and was buried at sea. The ship was supposedly blown off-course and ended up off South Carolina, a dangerous place to be during the Civil War. Eventually, the sailing ship arrived in New York City in June 1862, and the couple, their two children, and Frederike's parents and siblings traveled west to Erie County, New York, where they lived for a while before moving to Michigan.

Friedrich and Frederike.

These were my last ancestors to come from Europe. In 1998, I traveled back to their hometown, now a tiny community in Poland. At the end of World War II the Russians confiscated eastern Poland and moved all of the inhabitants to eastern Germany. Many of the Germans who lived in that tiny town were subsequently slaughtered, my cousin's grandmother had been sent to Bavaria towards the end of the war and escaped.

I wanted to see where my family had come from so I rented a car in Stettin and drove down country roads to the little town. Red brick houses and barns, usually joined together, were typical. The small church where my great-great-great-great grandparents were baptized as Lutherans had been converted into a Catholic Church after the war. Two women hoeing a potato field shouted questions at me in Polish when I stopped to take pictures. They were suspicious- at the time many people were worried in the area that people from Germany would be returning to reclaim their ancestral homes.

I could see why Friedrich and Frederika settled in central Michigan- the topography, climate, and vegetation were very similar to their home in Prussia. They would have felt comfortable their, surrounded by immigrant neighbors with similar backgrounds.

Some day I'd like to go back, this time with a translator so I could talk to the people who live there. I'd like to see if I could identify the family home, which is probably still standing. I guess I'll have to add that to the list of things I need to do.

Family members in Brusewitz.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

At the dig today we were busy digging in a 1000-year-old pithouse. As usual, I was being a big goof.

Lisa uncovering a metate [grinding stone].

When the pithouse caught on fire 1000-years-ago, a very large amount of corn [we call it maize!] burned inside of it.

1000-year-old burnt corn.

So we made up silly songs "Digging in a cornhole!" and the like. Very professional.

Afterwards I came home and washed dishes, picked oranges from the tree, made orange juice, made dinner, drank delicious fresh orange juice, gave Avi and Kristen a taste of the lime meringue pie [yes, I am obsessed with meringue pies, who isn't?], and played with Mollie.

Mummy knitting.

Mummy has started making me a vest from a design book from some Scandinavian country. It has six different colors of yarn. I asked her to use cotton yarn rather than wool because there is less chance I'll ruin it or the horrible moths will eat it.

Vince's dog Mollie makes herself at home in my house now. She is so sweet and really a nice addition.


Mummy adores Mollie and after she leaves I guess I won't mind if Mollie decides to stay on and live with me, When I come home from work she jumps around like a puppy again, so happy to see me.

Monday, January 09, 2006

John recently acquired a set of braces. His orthodonist wants to yank out some of his teeth. I have all 32 of mine, although five of them now reside in a black plastic film cannister.

I had horribly crooked teeth when I was a kid, and my parents didn't have the money to get them straightened. My upper incisors were stacked on top of each other, one of my lower incisors was pushed out by itself. In pictures from that time period I never showed teeth when I smiled.

My sophomore year in college I decided to do something about that and went to the University of Michigan dental school. The following fall I went in and the dental students pulled out my first maxillary premolars and my right mandibular central incisor (can you tell I took a human osteology class?). The students asked if they could keep them, since they would have been perfect to use as teaching specimens. Nope, I wanted them. Now when I look at them I'm impressed at how white they are.

Five of my teeth.

The braces worked wonderfully, a year later they were removed and I had a lovely smile.

Homer's braces.

In the 20 years since I have had one small cavity. Unfortunately, about nine years ago the gums around my mandibular third molars (AKA, wisdom teeth) decided to get infected and I had to have them pulled. Oh, that was awful. I developed dry socket and every complication including bone splinters and an ear infection. Very painful, I remember actually crying myself to sleep one night. My dentist would like to pull my other two wisdom teeth. No way. Not going to happen.

Speaking of teeth, I made a lime meringue pie tonight and sunk my seven incisors, four canines, six premolars, and ten molars into two slices of yumminess.

Lime meringue pie.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

If you were taking me out on a date, what would we do?

Friday, January 06, 2006

One of my readers tells me "That's just not right" in reference to yesterday's statement that I flip off people who drive Hummers.

I admit it is a rude gesture. However, I'm also aware that Hummers are huge, expensive status symbols that consume large quantities of gasoline and, in accidents, are particularly lethal to people driving smaller cars (like my Saturn). People who drive Hummers believe that it is alright to use up a greater share of valuable resources and to harm others, albeit accidently, when accidents happen.

Anyways, giving someone the finger is covered by the First Amendment.

Anyone else want to tell me what else I'm doing wrong?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

We are having unusually warm weather thanks to the emissions of a zillion SUVs valiantly 4-wheel-driving down America's Interstate system, braving avalanches and terrorists in their daily migration between suburbia and job.

Can you guess that every time I see a Hummer I flip the driver off? Yes, me bad.

Nunsequiter posted a link to the Make-a-Flake website. To remind myself of cold and nasty weather, I made a couple of snowflakes. Brrrrrr!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Well beefy, furry Byron was all flirty with the cute woman in line in front of me at Mexican Safeway but did he give me and my mother the same friendly service? Ummmm, like no! Totally ruined my shopping experience and made me a tiny tad hateful. Plus we forgot bananas.

Mummy is reading in the living room at this very moment. Vince's dog Mollie has moved in with us. That dog adores my mother, perhaps because of the Milk Bones but perhaps because Mummy turns the little electric heater fan toward Mollie. The doggy stretches out so the warm air blows on her tummy. When I play-wrestle with her, she pretends to bite me with her worn 13-year-old teeth. Once in a while she makes a terrible smell. One morning I got up late and she peed on the rug and I stepped in it, disgustingly warm. But still, it is pleasant having her around and the cats, while not loving her, at least tolerate Mollie.

Michelle stopped by on her way back to Israel and brought me a beautiful oval platter with fish on it. Unfortunately I wasn't here but she and Mummy visited and had a good time. I was attending a meeting where several elderly women would not stick to the agenda. Because I was so late my mother puzzled over who she should call if I didn't come home soon. I tell her to call over to my workplace, the most likely place for me to be. She, for whatever reason, hadn't thought of that. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My Acceptance Speech. First, I have to apologize to Archerr for his Holiday Card, which was the most glittery card I've ever made and which, unfortunately, made a glittery mess of his immaculate condo.

Second, I have to thank Brian for making me laugh about things I can't share with anyone else. He brings out the evil in me. What was that line from The Exorcist?, Oh yeah, "Satan, get behind me!"

Thirdly, the Chocolate shampoo that Albert sent me smells just like cake batter but when smeared on my shower wall, looks like I had a horrible bowel incident. So if you come to my house and peep in my shower stall, I just want you to know that I only have horrible bowel incidents while on vacation in Hawaii. However, I wouldn't encourage you to sniff my shower stall walls, that would just be creepy.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Brian and I were discussing my possible appearance in the balloon fetish movie (Background person #43). The topic, as usual, skewed toward filth and corruption and we began to think of possible porn names. Of course now I can't remember the one that I thought up (or the drag name either! Damn, do I have early onset Alzheimer's?).

So I am relying on you, faithful readers, to suggest a porn name for me.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The papparazi chased me through the bar last night!

"I'm ready for my close up."

"Beef, it's a good thing!"

"Ohmigod, I swear my hand slipped!"

Thanks Reuben for sending me these picture!

When midnight came I was standing next to Patrick at the Venture, surrounded by smoke and gay guys and balloons. A certain balloon-fetish porn star was hosting the New Years celebration, and Patrick and I will probably appear in some video, in between the segments where guys blew up balloons until they popped.

At home I smell like smoke and the cats crawl over me as I type this. I don't know why this New Year's Eve was the best I've ever had, perhaps that is a portent of good things to come.

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