Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE Off The Road Again -- A Vivaciously Verdant Vernal Equinox...
Halfway Through January Already
After having read all the bad press about them I went to Bargainland
Liquidation yesterday, at 3401 West Buckeye Road, just to see if
were really there. They are but there is no sign over their door and
they have no over the counter sales. The only way to do business with
them is through Ebay.
I asked the wench at the desk behind the counter that is not big enough
for sales anyhow: --What about those of us who have no access to the
internet? How do we shop for your bargains?
She shrugged her shoulders and turned away.
So I guess that begs the question: How does an unconnected person do
business with a company which has no storefront? Is this some sort of
high tech discrimination against the disconnected?
That adventure was just the first stop on a whirlwind shopping spree
looking for parts. To and fro across the city, from one supply house to
another. I would have been better off calling ahead to see who had
what. I probly spent as much time driving as I would have listening to
vapid music on hold. Some
of what are, or were, the most common items are becoming harder and
harder to find as components are replaced by throw-away assemblies and
even the counter sales of what is left are usurped by the likes of ebay
and other online functions. This is no world for a Luddite; the "Future
Shock" is wearing me down.
...and speaking of beer...
For a long time back there in the old days I would drink only beers
whose name began
with an 'M': Molson, Michelob, Miller. Then I graduated to Dos Equis,
and now I am up to the "C" beers. Corona! With lime of course.
Why choose M? Wouldn't it have been much more interesting to
start at A and try them all? Is there a Z beer I could have started
with? Does it really matter?
I think M is where I was introduced to beer in
the first place. The two
people, maybe three, who were my beer-mentors in the early days were
fond of M-beer. Perhaps for different reasons. Guy liked Milwaukee cos
it was the least costly at the Gorham grocery where the Mount
Washington Observatory did their weekly shopping. Steak and eggs and
beer for breky was his main use. Little Jon used Milwaukee on his
when the milk soured rather than mix up powdered. Dick Cook was a
Miller man. The "High Life" appealed to those of us who climbed a lot
of mountains. I went a step up from them I thought. The shape of the
Michelob bottle appealed to me. Molsen was cool cos it was imported.
Then there was Moosehead from Canada, came in a wooden case; I still
have my 24-bottle Moosehead wooden case--use it for my sewing kit now.
I went through a recent period of testing and tasting local brews as I
travelled. The Corona is a hold over from my time at Palmer Station
when it was the beer of choice from Punta Arenas Chile. It was easier
to have the icebreaker sail to Punta Arenas for a beer run--four days
across the Drake Passage--than it was
to try and order Moosehead from the states. So I guess one could say at
this point that I am a slave to habit. Also a penny pincher. I am not
willing to invest in a new beer and risk not liking it. However I am
willing to try other brands when someone else is treating.
From The HamFest at Mile 99 in Quartzsite
Arrived monday afternoon in the sun. Tuesday was a great Hobo Stew; I
will have to get the recipe for that concoction. At this writing it is
early wenzday morning in the rain. The ground is very soggy and The Cat Drag'd Inn seems to be
listing a bit
to port. Yesterday there was a seminar on the subject of GeoCaching and
I had an opportunity to compare my GPS device with several others older
and newer. Interesting how six such devices can all sit on the same
spot and tell you they are at six different locations. It would be like
the kids in math class arriving at different solutions to the same
problem. Who's right? Which location is correct? After that, off to
find a cache.
"Most folks, if
asked, say they favor a free society, but they don't
know what freedom means...
"But has the U.S. federal government been true to this ideal? The test
of freedom is when it is applied to situations that displease you. And
here, the chiefs of government have shown that they do not understand
freedom. Government officials know very little about freedom. "
GroundHawg Day... I hope the rest of
the month is not like this
Yes, I have your letter and read and passed on the article. Thank you
for sending it. Your letter is one down in the SnailMail ReplyPile. In
the meantime I am working on: updating the El Dorado Hot Springs web
site, rewiring the brake lights on the owner's motorhome, rebuilding
the alternator for my bus, and fixing whatever is the crisis of the
day. Two days ago, just as a fax for the brake light project was coming
in there was a dull thud in the air, not unlike the "whump" of a
distant explosion, and all the lights went out. We hear those "whumps"
once in a while from the proving ground down towards Yuma when they
light off a particularly large bomb but the lights never went out
before. Bill the Boss went in one
direction to get the generator started and I went in the other to see
how widespread the outage and what was the cause. There was a note of
panic cos we had for more than a week been hot on the trail of this fax
of wiring diagrammes and didn't want to have to ask for a resend. On
top of that we were moments away from opening for the day and needed
the credit card machine, the office lights and fridge, and maybe even
the main hot water pump, to be online.
In the course of the next few minutes extension cords were snaked
across the yard to access some circuits found working and narrowed the
search to the subpanel supplying the croo ghetto--a 60 amp circuit that
is regularly running maxed out. So while the office was powered via
extension cord from two RV outlets on the far side of the yard I
explored the subpanel.
Two 120 volt phases came from the main panel and that was what I
measured when everything was disconnected at the ghetto distribution
box. However when any load was added the voltage on one leg would go up
and that on the other would go down. Depending on the load the leg
voltage might be as high as 240 or as low as 0. Immediate diagnosis: A
break in the neutral somewhere. So I went upstream to the main box and
found a hot spot. Very hot.
Charred wire. Melted plastic. And two neutral wires no longer connected
to the neutral bus. One of those neutrals fed the croo ghetto. Everyone
on the second circuit was still asleep
and hadn't yet noticed. Probly the heavy loads had been heat-cycling
the wire/bus connexion over enough time to fatigue the wire, soften
it, and loosen the screws. Perhaps the muffled whump was the explosion
of a big fat arc when the mechanical/elastic tension in the wire
finally pulled it away
from the bus. The end of the wire is welded over as if a giant spark
occured. The charred insulation is sure evidence of a long period of
Well anyhow... Buy the time that was all put back together and the
extension cords rolled up and put away the morning was gone. It was
time for lunch, nap, visitors arriving to greet and soak with, shopping
for other projects, and groceries... Oh yes, I forgot the beginning of
this whole day. Oh-dark-thirty, just when I needed it most, my urinal
failed. I won't get into the discription of that mess. Suffice it to
say that I had just finished tearing it down and making a list of parts
when the fax commenced to arrive. So now it was about ten o'clock at
night when I am finally reassembling the urinal so I can pee and go to
bed. Needless to say not much got accomplished that day. Nothing off my
17febter2005 The 239th anniversary of
my gggggf's incarceration
Family Ancestor Holiday. Every family needs a history and at least one
ancestor to revere. You get your own personal holiday on the calendar.
Take a day off work, stay home from school, celebrate your family
holiday. My gggggf William OXEN-OXDEN-OXTON, (from back in the days
before some folks could read and write--I know, I know, some folks
still can't) came over on the boat from "the old country" to the "New
World" in 1766 as one of His Majesty's "Seven Year Passengers". This
holiday will prove to be a protracted celebration since it comprises
several related events.
"William Oxen ... for feloniously Stealing
Several Red and White Silk
Handkerchiefs of the value of ten pence, the property of the said
Jeremy Hergest ...
"At the General Session of the Peace of our Sovereign Lord the King,
holden for the County of Middlesex at Hick's Hall in St. John Street in
the County aforesaid on Monday the Seventeenth day of February in the
Sixth Year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, King of
Great Britain. William Oxen was eventually found guilty and sentenced
to be transported.
"William Oxen, Middlesex, Transported." Quotes from various court
records obtained from The Old Bailey, London.
William Oxen was prisoner #60 on a list of 81 from the County of
Middlesex who were transported in the Ship Ann. That part is another
storey, another search, another holiday.
Are there any of Jeremy Hergest's decendents among my readers?
Hot red chiles?
Won't they deforest your freezer? I just did mine. The
frost was thick on the back wall. Removed about a quart of iceberg and
made enough new room for another pint of B&J's and a pount of
Ground Hawg Day...
Last Wenzday hereabouts was Rattlesnake Day. Wenzday was
the State of the Union Address. It was an ironic juxtaposition of
One involved a meaningless ritual in which we looked to a creature of
little intelligence for an accurate prognostication of the future.
The other involved a snakeinthegrass. You can Anagram that to what!?
And Now We Are at the End of
Febter--Marching Orders Next
Spring is Sprung/The grass is riz/No need to wonder/Where the poppies
is. Great fields of them, gold in the sun, up and down the hillsides.
Black and orange banded baby snake. A whole new crop of Black Mollies
in the Lilly Pond.
Bill Spindler, OAE, writes:
"Wish you could stop in and see me on your next journey...but that
be a bit difficult. Last month I made yet another move...I'm currently
the proud resident of a nice new room overlooking....the South Pole
Dome. Yup, I'm wintering, along with 85 other crazy or not so crazy
folks...seems that I've set a record for wintering a second time 28
years after the first.
"So far so good, I've got an interesting job as the construction
inspector on a small Navy contract, so I'm not working for the
contractor...but as you know things have changed just a bit over the
years. The new station is nice, fancy, and way too complicated. And it
still has power failures (like today). This is the last year that
people will be living in the Dome...and we're tearing down the bar
(guess we had to start somewhere)."
Summer Tour to New Hampster Cancelled
Could be that I am just getting cold feet. But more directly is the
matter of not enough money left in the pocket to guarantee return
passage to this sunny warm land and not enough assurance that there
would be sufficient work in NH to earn same. With fuel prices already
rising in anticipation of the forecast it is a self-fulfilling
prophecy. The fear-mongers have this country right by the balls and I
for one am afraid.
That is the one thing I understand the least. Well, two things. The
fear and the spiraling prices. I just read a book on the subject of how
the media and the government control the "Fear Factor" of the American
Public. The uncertainty is a great factor when one is living on an old
worn out shoestring. I must re-evaluate my thinking.
What does it matter how the price of anything goes up if all the other
prices follow in response? All the other prices that is except what the
little people at the shit-end of the stick are earning. I guess I am
turning into a bitter old man despite all my efforts to maintain a good
outlook. It is an easy road to slide into. Perhaps I am tired of all
this. Certainly getting to be harder and harder to see the point of it
Plan such as it is will be to stay at the hot spring for the
have a chance to earn some money and if I can find a way to save some
of it then perhaps I will be able to travel in the late Autumn or next
Spring. But then that is what I told my Self last year. I am barely
keeping ahead of the interest on a bad loan I made to a friend--that is
one of my main areas of concern. What was the sage's advice about
lending money to friends and relatives?
All that looks like I'm wallowing in self-pity but I don't want it to
sound that way. Caught between the rock and the hard place is all. At
least I am still waking up in the mornings and I still live on the
outside of The Wall. Although I am less sure of that last than I used
Pi Day in case you didn't notice.
For the occasion I made a raisin pie served up on a round table with
portions severed from the center to the circumference along lines of
radii in opposition to other such lines and in combination with other
such radii perforce becoming not quite diameters. Each slice thereby
being today's date in inches of the arc of the circumference we had
nine. One for each of us here. Except that I managed two. What was the
size of the pie?
Ides of March, Goat Boy God
Pan, ancient Greek god of shepards, rendered in glass after an original
design in wire sculpture by Mike Tedder, is the subject of my latest
stained glass construction. I'm getting better at this. Did some really
nice complex curves for this window. Pan is a good subject. Mike Tedder
does nice work. So do I for that matter.
Hermes, protector of travellers and God of Games, was Pan's father. Pan
became chief of the satyrs, God of Woods and Animals and protector of
shepards. He played music on a set of reed pipes and is often depicted
as a man with legs and feet of a goat. This window is a depiction of
the young Pan when he still has his human feet however the horns of his
deviltry are already apparent.
Observations from the course of other
"I am at a cross road, no, a fork in the road, and I am at a loss as to
which way to turn. The portents and advice and guidance from above and
beyond, within and around me point in several directions. To stay or to
go is not as easy a decision as it once was for me."
"Interesting how we as a society cater and even kowtow to some "-isms"
and "-ians" and "-ists" but yet at the same time shun and repress
others. For all
our posturing of acceptance and broadmindedness society is still very
narrowly focused on the will of whomever the current majority happens
Feast Day of Saint Patrick-The Last
Supper-Spring Equinox Sunday...
All rolled into three days of relevelry in the Croo Ghetto.
That much is for sure. No matter how much we screw up the environment
and the weather there will still be the seasons. The hummingbirds are
here feeding in droves from the flowering aloe and the fake flower
feeders. Some days one can lie in the hot tub and watch the mesquite
tree leaving out leaves one after another. Remember that song: To ope'
their trunks the trees are never seen;/ How then do they put on their
robes of green?/ They leave them out!
We started off with and ice cream toss led by
Biker Betty. Kathy made a
rich chewy chocolate brownie to go with the vanilla ice cream and the
rest of us stood around in the sun tossing the medicine ball sized bags
of ingredients wrapped in rock salt, newspaper and duct tape. It takes
about twenty minutes of tossing the cream to make it freeze. As long as
the bags don't burst first or leak brine into the ice cream. YUM! All
that exercise is well rewarded.
The last supper doubled as the Feast of Saint Patrick and the going
away dinner for all the Winter Croo who are leaving over the next few
weeks. Turkey and all that stuff. I made another pie. Apple-raisin with
a combination pastry and graham crumb crumble nut crust. Two YUMS! for
The blessing this day comes from Earth
Prayers--Cycles of Life: "Lord of the Springtime, Father of
flower, field and fruit, smile on us in these earnest days when the
work is heavy and the toil wearisome; lift up our hearts to the things
worthwhile--sunshine and night, the dripping rain, the song of the
birds, books and music, and the voices of our friends. Lift up our
hearts to these this night and grant us peace." Adapted from W.E.B. Du
Out back, the desert is carpeted
with yellow Mexican Poppies, Eschscholtzia
mexicana; and several purple flowers: lupine, owl clover, Orthocarpus purpuracens. Not to
mention thick dense
clinging clumps of stickyweed and barrel cacti swelled to bursting.
Last week the weather was finally nice enough for a couple of nice
walks in the outback. The first was ten miles circumhikebulating the
south peak of Saddle Mountain. I did this route last year in a
clockwise direction, this year went counterclockwise. Last year my
route took a lot of shortcuts over ridges across loops in the road.
This year the desert is so overgrown with new growth as a result of all
the rain that it is hard sometimes to find the road never mind the
shortcuts. There is even still some standing water and in a very few
places some trickling water in gullies up in the saddle.
My second walk was shorter, only four miles, after nearly twenty miles
of gravel road to find the trailhead. Part of the purpose of this
walk was to do some site maintanance at one of the geocaches and
another part was to pick up trash on the way out. Amazing what some
folks carry into the desert. I've written previously about the bowling
ball and ten pin we found a mile or so away from the road. Perhaps I
never mentioned the four foot square Formica covered tabletop Ian and I
hauled out from even further in. This day, along with the usual beer
cans and plastic bags, I found a twenty foot length of two inch street
flared PVC pipe in very new condition.
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all
before me. --Sir Isaac Newton
Back to Oso
Back to ajo
Copyright © 2004, A.J.Oxton, The
Cat Drag'd Inn , Center Conway NH 03813-0144.