Monday, August 31, 2009

Saturday started out awful. I cleaned house and did some yardwork, and then Forrest and I went to do errands and stopped by the 4th Avenue underpass to look at my tile. Except there was a woman's picture in my place. The project website said that some tiles had been replaced because they were broken, and it wasn't until today that I learned that my tile was still being made. In the meantime I was in a cranky mood.

But Kevin came down from Phoenix on Saturday and we went to Yoshimatsu for supper.

Vegetable tempura bento.

As always, the food was very good.

The next morning we had breakfast at The Grill (tater tots!). Afterwards we drove out into the desert west of my house.

Kevin and saguaro.

The west unit of Saguaro National Park is only about 15 to 20 minutes away from my front door. There are many saguaros there, of course.

Saguaro National Park.

Lots of photo opportunities.

Fishhook cactus.

Afterwards, Kevin drove his Jeep through the carwash.

LSD suds.

Jump forward to tonight, Forrest and I went for a short night hike. We ran into someone who didn't like us.


Forrest played with my new camera, taking long exposure shots.

It was really dark when this photo was taken.

Looks like I will be doing a dig down at a mission site south of Tucson next week, I am suddenly very busy at work.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Busy week and being in a bad mood for most of it, well, haven't felt like writing about that. So I'm going to talk about archaeology and meals instead.

Out at the dig site we are in the last month of work, clearing areas from east to west. I have been digging many pits, discovering what shape they were dug out of 3000-years-ago or so. During work with the backhoe, two grinding stones (metates) were located. Yesterday I excavated the pit.

As located, as always, you can click on the picture to enlarge it.

I carefully cleared the soil around from the metates and then photographed them again. We try to document the most interesting and significant finds with photographs.

Uncovered metates.

After I drew the map showing how the grinding stones sat in the pit, I removed them.


About 3,000-years-ago someone carefully placed the two upside-down in a half-filled pit, storing them for whenever they returned (except they never returned). They used small handstones (manos) to grind corn into meal and other seeds like amaranth into edible flour.

Speaking of food, Forrest and I went to Amrutha for dinner Thursday night.

Forrest contemplates the masala dosa.

Forrest showed me how some of the settings on my new camera worked.

I am wearing my favorite tee-shirt.

Afterwards we went to Savers department thrift store and I bought a golden brown polyester shirt that I wore tonight, while having dinner with John at a Lebanese restaurant.


The hummous was horrid, but the tabouli was great. John got to listen to me talk about my bad mood, and afterwards I felt better.

Tomorrow's adventure, a new cell phone and some new trowels- I broke two at work in the last two weeks.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I had an excellent time on my trip to San Diego, even after someone stole my camera at the Phoenix airport. I forgot it on my seat when I went to the bathroom and when I realized that and went back, it was gone. That camera was my trusty friend for over 4 years, I will miss it, especially that fold-out screen that made taking self-portraits a snap.

Chris and Joe picked me up at the airport and took me to their lovely Arts and Craft style home, perched high on the side of the hill. We went that night to see a horrible Hitchcock movie, Topaz, but the group of guys was fun and I got to meet two nice (and handsome!) gay archaeologists.

The next day we went up to see Andy and the flint knappers at his cabin in the Laguna Mountains.

Chris and Joe.

The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful.


That night we went to a bar where people were line-dancing and two stepping. I did not participate because I have three left feet. I did wear my cute cowboy shirt.

On Sunday Chris dropped me off at Ted and Rob's very cute house. I got to meet their three cats before we went for Middle Eastern food (mine was really good, Ted's not-so-digestible).

Ted, before the indigestion.

Rob, who suffered naught.

We went to The Hole and I saw some attractive men and had some beer. Afterward, we went home and I drunk-cooked.

We shouldn't be handling knives.

I made pesto pizza, which came out really nice. And then I made a West Coast version of the Rage-Inducing Lemon Meringue Pie. I managed to forget to put in the cream of tartar and had to use brown sugar, so the meringue part probably won't induce much rage.

Does this make you angry?

Everything is well at home and I was pleased to learn that the second of the proposals I worked on was successful, so I will be gainfully employed in the coming months.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I know everyone thinks archaeology is glamorous... but work at the sewer plant is hot, sweaty, smelly, and dirty.

This morning I worked on a large storage pit. I had to climb inside to remove the charcoal-stained earth that had filled in around 3,000-years-ago.


The sweat was literally running down my face and over my glasses. My shirt was soaked and then muddy.


The worst is the sweat that runs down my arms. The dirt I dig out ends up on my arms and turns into mud. Sometimes I have to scrape it off with my trowel.

And of course I didn't find anything interesting in that pit.

Caramia, digging a nearby pithouse, found a complete figurine of a woman.


If you click on the image you can see it close up. The rod at the top has a stylized nose. It attached to a "rain-drop" body. I have found several of the "rain-drops" but didn't know what they were. This one has two small attached breasts and a series of incised lines on the body. These were previously unknown until our current dig.

Off to San Diego tomorrow to see Chris and Joe!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our portraits from the Tucson Portrait Project:





Thank you Brian for sending me the images!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Last year Patrick, Brady, Forrest, and I had our pictures taken for the Tucson Portrait Project. The artists have picked the 6,000 or so portraits that appear on the four panels, and Brady was excited to discover that all four of us made the cut. You can see my picture by typing my name into the "Find Yourself" part of the website.

Today I spent a lot of time digging pits at the smelly sewer plant, working with Jim W., who I can sometimes make laugh by saying stupid things, like whether his friend is cute or not. He reads my blog, and I told him I would say something about him. Jim is one of the reasons I like working at the sewer plant, other than the exciting smells.

Saw District 9 with Brady tonight. Awesome movie.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Well, that was disgusting. The Indian food I had last night at 8 PM left my body at 5 AM, and it was as spicy then as it had been at dinner. The other Indian restaurant, the one I went to with Brady, is called Ampura or something like that.

I was ten minutes late for work and I certainly made up for it, digging very hard today and getting a lot accomplished. At the end of the day I was just worn out though.

And some other stuff is wearing me out. I am looking forward to a weekend in San Diego, although complications are likely to happen, it seems they follow me around.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Forrest finally convinced his buddy Jason to visit Tucson again. I took them to a new Indian restaurant that Brady had taken me to lunch a while back. The restaurant serves non-standard dishes- things you don't see at the other Indian restaurants here.

Forrest amid the flowers.

It was nice to sit around and talk with Jason, I especially like his sense of humor.

Homer and Jason.

Afterwards we hung out with Mark, Sandy, and Zane- but by 9 o'clock I was half asleep (I got up at 3:45 AM to get ready for work). Luckily, the start time for the dig is changing to 6:00 AM, so I will be able to get an extra half hour of sleep in the morning.

Next up, lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream frosting!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I've been busy being lazy. Went to Phoenix for Brian's birthday supper on Saturday. Out working at the dig. Putting together two newsletters. Reading a book. Lying in front of the AC unit. Thinking about the lemon cake I will be making for Saturday. Ignoring the news. Playing with Snowball. Watering plants because the monsoon isn't making much rain. Wishing for something. Going to bed early. And et cetera.

Going to San Diego on the 21st. Looking forward to seeing people and sitting on the beach.

How's your summer going?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

So yesterday it was 108 degrees (42 Celsius) and it was miserable out at the sewer plant digging, the sweat was running off of me and despite drinking as much water as I could, I still had a headache when I came home. I ran over afterwards to visit with Kyle, who just had his left hip replaced Monday, and had a nice visit. Then spent some time shopping for birthday presents.

When I got home, the headache was horrible and my house was a nightmare, probably in the 90s due to the high humidity and heat. I broke down and went and bought a window air conditioner unit. Ohmigolly, it was like an ice storm broke out in the living room. So I lay on the couch and my headache magically disappeared.

Today, not so hot. I excavated a portion of a pit containing the co-mingled remains of three dogs who died about 3,000-years-ago. An adult, a dog nearing adulthood, and a puppy. The bones were very poorly preserved and mostly fell into pieces. It was an unpleasant time.

Later, as we were covering things up, someone found a tarantula hiding under a tarp. I scooted it into a bucket, then put it into my lunch box, and brought it home. I let it loose in a pile of brush in my backyard, where it can burrow down in during the day and come out at night to eat insects.

Tarantula! (and yes, that is my hand)

They are pretty amazing creatures, quite docile and don't mind being handled.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

So sick of hearing about these fucking "birthers" and their endless, stupid claims that Obama was born in Kenya. Or in Indonesia. Or isn't a citizen because his father was Kenyan. Or that the State of Hawaii won't release the actual copy of his birth certificate (which would never happen, the whole point is to protect the original certificate and prevent lunatics from having access to it).

I was born in Traverse City, Michigan on 16 September 1963. I know this because I have a certified copy of my birth certificate, complete with an embossed seal, that was prepared by the Grand Traverse County Recorder's Office in the mid-1970s, when my mother applied for a Social Security card for me (unlike nowadays, where you get a Social Security number at birth). I used this certificate to get my US passport back in 1986, and the Federal government issued me a passport, stating I was a native of the USA.

The actual paper copy of the birth certificate is housed in the (hopefully) fireproof vault at the Grand Traverse County Courthouse and can only be viewed by staff members, myself, or my mother (possibly my siblings or legal representative too, if I am somehow incapicitated).

The Traverse City Record Eagle published a birth announcement on 17 September 1963 (page 3, column 1):

And a short notice appeared in the dismissals portion of the "Hospital Notes" column of the same newspaper on 23 September 1963 (page 3, column 3). I had to stay in the hospital for a week because I my mother and I had incompatible blood types and was born through a Caesarian section so that my blood could be replaced:

The first photograph of myself was taken on Halloween day in 1963 (I was the fifth child so my parents were too poor and tired to take many pictures of me), but I am too lazy to track it down. Look at this picture of me instead (standing behind my brother Bub).

Playing in the pig scalding kettle, circa Summer 1972.

My mother will attest that I was in fact born at the Munson Medical Center in 1963. My oldest sister, who was six, may remember me coming home from the hospital.

But none of this would matter to these "birther" fanatics. I tried to watch a video that Joe.My.God had posted on his blog, of some reject named Orly Taitz babbling away, but had to stop watching it because she is so obviously insane. I am sure Orly and the other fucking idiots could concoct lots of conspiracy theories why I am not an American citizen either. They make the Republican Party look more and more like a fringe group, full of racists and greedy oldsters. Like that is going to appeal to most reasonable people.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm going to San Diego for a weekend in a few weeks- staying with my friends Chris and Joe first and then a night with Kevin. I am very excited to see them and escape the wretched heat for a few days. It has been above 100, mostly above 105, for several weeks and my house is a steamy oven.

This morning I put on my striped pants, one of the two shirts I have that actually have sleeves that fit, and my wing-tips ($8 at the the thrift store). Once a year I dress up for work and I got the usual questions, 'Why are you wearing those nice clothes?" Because I have them.

I made vanilla custard ice cream on Saturday and it came out really nice. The cake I made, chocolate mayonnaise with chocolate buttercream filling, was really good too. I forgot to take a picture of it.

I just ate a maple cookie, so I will have to do a couple of minutes of extra cardio at the gym to burn off those delicious calories.

And so on. I met someone named Zorro yesterday. We discussed how unusual our names were (Forrest was nearby, he got included in the strange name discussion). We agreed that having an unusual name can be a very good thing (people remember you) or a very bad thing (people remember you).

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