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Showing posts from September, 2014

Music Nominations Wanted

Thanks to the munificence of a long-suffering sibling and a recent birthday I am looking to buy some MP3 music tracks from Amazon. In the past I've gotten some good suggestions, so let's try it again. I am primarily interested in: Movie musical scores ("soundtracks") Solo piano or piano concertos.  Female vocalists. In the first category are composers like Jan Kaczmarek, Mario Darianelli, Patrick Doyle, and Gabriel Yared among contemporaries. Of course I love the movie composers of an earlier generation, such as Bernard Herrmann, Victor Young, Maurice Jarre, Ennio Morricone, etc. In the second category I like much, but not Valium-capsule music, or nambi-pambie nature soundtracks, e.g., waves hitting the shore, seagulls squawking, or whales mooing in the ocean. In the third category, there are divas like the bluesy EmmyLou Harris, moody Celtic lasses, Puccini heroines, or Broadway musicals. I do not listen to music dominated by electric bass guitars or any

The Salad Days of Secession

It improves your life to pay little attention to the "News," but not for the reason usually offered: that it is too negative.  At the moment there are Baja-hurricane-related flash flood warnings in southern Arizona. That's certainly negative, but it is worth knowing about if you live near an arroyo down there. A better reason for ignoring news is that most of it is trivial entertainment, spin, and government propaganda. But I certainly admit that some of it has been interesting lately. Consider the Scottish Independence vote. Incredible news actually. Isn't there an old proverb on Wall Street that a stock market adviser can give the price of a stock OR a date, but should never give both. In defiance of that I am here to make a fool of myself, on the day of the Scottish vote, and predict that they will vote 'No' to independence. Perhaps it will be close, but the whole thing is redolent of Quebec versus the rest of Canada. Threatening to secede is just a b

Walking off Trail

I love the geology and topography of this spot, on the eastern edge of the San Juan's, near Little Mexico, CO. It's a land of decomposed laccoliths, with just the perfect balance of the Horizontal and the Vertical; of partly cloudy September skies; and of cliffs and ridgelines in the foreground, and big mountains in the distance. Even the vegetation is balanced between grass, small cactus, and junipers.  My dog was picking up stickers the first day or two, but then she learned how to avoid them. How is that even possible? Dogs are gifted animals when it comes to any kind of motion. As is often the case, I imitated my dog. There are no hiking trails as such around here, and the mountain bike was in the shop getting new brakes, so I decided to go bushwhacking across the grass/cactus fields. It was cool enough on these September mornings that I wasn't too worried about rattlesnakes. Over 80 F they are a consideration around here. Dogs know they don't need no stinki

Recidivism on a Pit Bull's Rap Sheet

The weekend finally over, the animal shelter opened up today.  I dreaded taking "Tipper", our self-invited weekend guest, to the shelter. I imagined the volunteer taking one look at Tipper and saying, "Oh that's just great, just what we need, another uncastrated pit bull! And this one requiring veterinary expenses on top of that!" Oh geez, would that mean 'the back room' for this sweet monster? I had to lift Tipper into the van because of his sore foot. He was lighter than I thought. He just sat there. Not a squirm out of him. I rubbed his head all the way to the shelter. There was a stoic resignation that was disturbing. Did he know something that I didn't? It was the opening of the work week at the animal shelter, and the dogs were acting out their anarcho-libertarian political leanings. They were running loose and barking their heads off. The place stunk. Apparently they don't like being ignored all weekend. The volunteer opened the door

Returning the Favor of Dog Rescue

(Dispersed camping near Little Texas #3, CO.) Coffee Girl, my Australian kelpie, did not like the intruder, an uncastrated pit bull. In fact I've never heard her growl at another dog before. Initially I thought of getting my foot all the way back, and then kicking its brains in. Like most people, I despise pit bulls. But wait a minute. It was acting so friendly. The colors were "friendly" too. It had a sore foot. After watering and feeding it, I set up a doggie luxury lounge underneath my trailer. Why don't people put tags on their dog with their phone number so that somebody in my position would know what to do? This dog responds so enthusiastically to attention by beating its white-tipped tail that I have started calling it "Tipper." I wish it were putting a little more weight on its sore foot. On Monday I'll take it to the animal shelter. Too bad. Anyway this is such a sweet dog that it is a pleasure to return the favor to some stranger

Part 2: Thinking Your Way Out of, and Into, a Box

If you too are in the habit of coming up with "brilliant" ideas, only to find that they don't work out as well as expected, you might enjoy having a good laugh at my frustration. Since only a small fraction of the readers have the same needs for a new tow vehicle that I do, I will try to drag my problem towards more general ideas, as the post moves along.  Until then, recall the starting point of this problem-solving exercise: the most economical way to live at the point of diminishing returns regarding comfort and camping freedom is to pull a converted cargo trailer. I have had this opinion for a decade, and now I am proving it in real life.  Now it is time to move on to Phase 2, finding a good tow vehicle for a lightweight trailer (3000 pounds loaded). By "good" I mean: 1. Something far less than the standard pickup price of $65000 (or whatever). 2. Something that can get over 20 mpg unhitched. (I only tow 2000 miles per year, so I can be a good lose

A More Sane Approach to Holidays

Little Texas #3, CO. Let's get one thing out of the way: I like Texans. All it took was spending my first winter as a full-time RVer in the Texas Hill Country. I left wondering why so many Yankees have a prejudice against such friendly people. At least I did, at one time. Furthermore, I do not hate motorized recreational sports. There are just too many of them, that is all. Aren't there better alternatives to the weekend/holiday warrior pattern? Just think of the expense families suffer when they own motorized toys, one for every family member over age 6, and then use those toys a couple days per year. And then there is the toy hauler or flat-bed trailer, and a $65000 King Ranch F350 pickup truck to pull all that crap. They are pissing money away so fast. They should save it for double digit inflation in healthcare, college, and food. Let's try to come up with some constructive alternatives. Wouldn't it cost less to give their little darlin' 6-year-old girl le