Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Fine Day

Decided to go into town today for lunch and a couple of errands. Saw these two beauties on a walk after lunch. Hard to take a picture of a horse looking natural here: once you point the camera they all come over and start checking us out. We got some nice shots of both of us getting a little horse nuzzling too, hopefully Sheryl will put some of those on her blog. We ate at Trappers cafe in Snowflake. Great food, big portions and it's about as cheap as eating at any fast food place, I kid you not. Plus the service is friendly and fast. I'd go there every day if I lived in town.

So, the horse at the top I figure is a dapple rose grey, and the one on the bottom is easier to classify as a simple pinto, or a paint: but she's a lovely redhead version ain't she? Liked them so much I made the photos available here. My dad probably knows better how to name a horse by markings etc, as he used to be a cowboy in New Mexico. He can yodel too.

We hear that some horses can bite, so would not recommend petting every strange horse you see.

PS, the weather is simply amazing here lately.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Changing Times; devolving towards pure theory

Being that we have changed our scenery lately, Sheryl and I have been subject a fair amount to the scenery changing us-- some of us more than others, or maybe it's change in different ways. Sheryl has been writing about philosophical and political matters lately. I've been more affected by the countryside, nature, the wide open spaces than by the local town twenty miles away.

Aside from photography, I've taken on other creative projects in the past. I've always been a fiction writer, a musician, and occasionally liked making or modifying things for myself. I made an electric guitar in my 7th grade woodshop, for example. That was back when we had woodshop, metalshop, printshop, drafting, and these are just the hands-on classes that I remember. At the time I needed a good electric guitar because I was in the midst of forming up a rock band. I didn't have the money for a good electric guitar, so I made one. I got a lot of help from a lot of people, some books too, but I pulled it off and that was my main electric for a long time. We wrote our songs, performed them, and some of those guys went on to some degree of fame with our home-made music.

In college I had to watch while the school administration again closed down just about everything related to building/making things for yourself. They closed down the electronics department, welding and fabrication and the whole industrial design program. Similar things happened across the whole State of California in the eighties. Some of my old electronics instructors engaged in contentious legal battles in order to try to save their jobs, and I think, to save some piece of mind over the trades that they had devoted their lives to promoting and educating about. At the time, I had recently formed my own business making custom built speakers and designing sound systems while still holding down a job in tech support for an educational organization which was making a pretty blatant statement about my skills: they were obsolete. Not complaining, I had my day in the sun and ultimately I moved on to devote myself more fully to my spiritual life. But still, was it wise to unravel every hands-on, practical skill from our entire educational system?

In town we saw a one room cabin that dates back more than a hundred years. It's in fine shape. There is a plaque on the wall stating that a cabin like that could commonly be built in a single day by a couple of guys with axes. Damn. If you could see it, I think you'd be as awed as we were.

I'm getting ready to take on more hands on projects-- having a time of it justifying the "why" of it but it just feels like the thing to do.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Holbrook on $500 a day

Ok, so you can probably do Holbrook for a lot less than $500 a day, especially in the off season. But here's how we did it: drove to the DMv to register the car. Only here they call it the MDV or something like that. We registered it, noting that there are polite signs asking you to check your firearms at the desk. We didn't brings ours, so we got to skip that step. Put the new AZ license plate on the Jeep (they only require a rear plate, and no smog certificate.) Start the car to drive away and yikes, it barely runs.

We got it rolling about 15 feet before it died. Get on the cell phone (the one we were just about to cancel) and call . . . various people. Discover that we no longer have triple-A for towing. Oops. Got a recommendation for a good mechanic local to Holbrook, and he happens to offer a free tow. Cool.

I try to convince Sheryl that we have time to walk over and have lunch, and that likely nobody can get the car going on the spot: complicated piece of computer controlled, fuel injected machinery that it is. Wrong on both counts. Dean Thompson of Thompson Automotive shows up in about five minutes and does that intuitive thing that some master mechanics are capable of: he says "Sounds like the fuel pump, when I bang on your gas tank, start the car." Amazing, it freakin worked!

We drive to his shop and the Jeep dies in the driveway, no problem. Walk over to the post office before it closes and Sheryl is able to mail her packages. Then we go off on a photo excursion. This time I have some rather strange intuition, and Sheryl disregards it. I won't say what it was-- but I'm proven right later. Thats the way it goes sometimes. We don't always hear our own, we don't always properly hear each other.

But here's the thing anyway: Ever since she saw those concrete wigwams weeks before, Sheryl wanted to stay in one. Oprah almost stayed there once but chickened out at the last minute. Her loss. We had a great time. We like Holbrook: it's funky and weird and we liked everybody we met. The fuel pump was going to fail anyway-- and lucky it didn't fail in a much worse place and time. Gone are the days when the fuel pump was mounted external to the tank and cost about $50 to replace. Car repairs change but it's good to know that concrete Tipi's remain. So we made a day and a night of it and had a blast. The Jeep is now offically an Arizonan. We don't know about ourselves yet. We'll see, but we have now officially gotten our kicks on route 66.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Some family photos

It's a little chilly today. Our cat, Pipa, really loves the propane heater. We've had our ups and downs out here but the cats have been consistantly happy. They loved it here from day one.

Sheryl really loves the local antique store/soda fountain, but we aren't eating out much anymore because we're 30 minutes from town-- and the last four miles of that are dirt roads. Saves us a little money being homebodies. Most days I like the simplicity and the necessity of self reliance.

This is a partial copy of a family portrait taken in 1905 in Missouri. That's Arlene Gibbany, my Aunt, on the far left at age 15 with her dog on the side saddle. Then there's my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother holding my grandmother (age two.) This is just a small portion of a truly remarkable large format photograph. Those specks are surface dust which I failed to wipe off before taking this macro shot out on the front porch. The print itself is just amazing, wish I knew the name of the photographer. I keep staring at the photo, and I've taken the magnifying glass to it. To truly capture the quality of this print I'd need about 100 megapixels I'm guessing: there are other family members, the entire two-story house, a lot of sky and foreground too in the original photograph. Wow. Makes me want a large format 8 by 10 box camera. . . sort of; not sure I'd have the patience for the procedure(s). Sometimes I think about all the stuff that wasn't around in 1905, no cars, Tv nor widespread radio, just about everything was done by hand or by horse. What a different life it must have been.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Photos I've been working up lately

Sheryl really likes this one of the hammer and spool of wire we found on an unfenced property. Tells it's own story.

I've had my eye on the tree above for weeks now.

Same goes for this broken windmill. Thanks to Sheryl for getting me close enough to it.

This one i spotted right away-- at the time i was suffering from vertigo, the wind was blowing and I nearly fell off a bluff to get this shot because every time I lifted the camera to my eye I got dizzy..
I call this one crazy coleus.

This heart shaped calla lily is, of course, for valentines day.
All these can be clicked on for a larger view.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

It's my birthday! Again.

Lot's of new photos posted here. Most of them are mine, some are Sheryl's. Been too busy to repost them on the blog. I'm 45, that's a good number I think. We're still getting to know the immediate area after two months here. The weather is really nice, I am amazed at that. We meet a lot of really nice and very down to earth, accessible people too. I'm still celebrating. I like to stretch my birthday out over the course of several days, celebrating my life and everybody in it.