Wednesday, September 29, 2004


This wonderful plate with fruit and blossoms features a rim of 22K burnished gold. Posted by Hello

Ms. Avila continues to share her mastery of the art of china painting with others. Posted by Hello

The Artist Lena Avila With Plate

HIGHLAND--Lena Avila has been painting on glazed china since the 1970's. She took lessons, went to conferences, managed displays and shows at the state fair, and taught others how to paint on china for over 30 years. I do not know how old Ms. Avila is (It wouldn't be polite to ask.) but her mother is 109! She continues to teach china painting at the Highland Senior Center on Wednesday mornings from 9:00-12:00.

Do I Need to Get a Life...or What?

Dwight's Glass & Mirror provides a moment of entertainment for a coffee-drinking crowd getting ready to go to work. Thanks! Posted by Hello

Laughing Through Glass

NOB HILL--Probably the BEST of all Flying Star spectator sports is looking out the big front windows watching people parallel park. Who can forget the day several years ago when a frustrated woman, after a good 20 minutes of very entertaining see-sawing, left her car 7 or 8 feet from the curb and went in to have a cup of coffee.

But this morning had an even better angle. A GLASS truck got too close to the newspaper machines on the sidewalk, and the driver was too stubborn to get out to take a look. Machines were dancing. Glass was shaking. People inside were roaring. Finally Oscar straighten a few of them out, and the guy came inside to get one to go. Leaving was even better, as he had to back up to clear the car in front of him. This time he did have to get out and rearrange the sidewalk items. I ran outside and snapped the picture, but didn't manage to get the driver's laughing face!

Monday, September 27, 2004

DETECTIVE STORY: Where is this building?

The building in the background will help you identify the location of this lunchroom. Posted by Hello


NOB HILL--Here is a picture from the past, probably around 1940. The "Little Chief Lunch" was located in what is now referred to as Nob Hill. Can you tell me where? What is located at that address now? What building is now situated in the photo's parking lot? Is any part of that sign still in existence? Click on the photo to enlarge and see the details better.

The first person to email me with the correct answer will win a free coupon from my Entertainment book! These coupons are usually twofers.

By the way, in a previous post (Sept. 16) I stated that since I was old enough to vote I had voted for every Democrat that ran for President except one. What I didn't say was that I didn't vote for anybody that election. The Democrat I didn't vote for was Hubert Humphrey. I was in Chicago when Humphrey was nominated. In fact, I was in the streets of Chicago when Humphrey was nominated. He stonewalled all the questions about the war as much as Johnson. The other Dem peace candidates were either out of the running (McCarthy) or dead (RFK). There was NO hope it seemed. So I didn't vote. Nixon won. It wouldn't have made a difference, but I should have voted because I knew that Nixon was no good. My not voting did help him.

I am bringing this up because upon rereading what I had written before it was possible to interpret what I had written to mean that I had voted for Nader four years ago. I would NEVER again vote for a candidate that had no chance of winning. It is bound to hurt one candidate or the other, so make your choice between the majors and vote your heart. In this election, a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. So vote for Kerry or Bush...don't make that same mistake I did in not voting. You will regret it. There IS a lot to lose here.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Marimba Dulce: Sweet...Sweet and Wonderful

Marimba Dulce playing for tips on the plaza in Old Town. Posted by Hello

Sunday on the Plaza

OLD TOWN--We were a little early for the Romero Rally so we walked over to Old Town Plaza. What a time! Eating ice cream, sitting in the shade, listening to a marimba makes me wonder why we don't come down to Old Town every Sunday.

Marimba Dulce was the name of the marimba group. There were two players: Lucas and Mike. The marimba itself was carted up from Chiapas in a van. It was truly a gorgeous piece. Lucas said they play on the plaza...but not every week. Over on the next street the gunfire of a mock shootout punctuated the lazy afternoon. sigh...

MaryAnn is simply radiant at the Romero Rally!

"Come on," I said. "Let me get a picture of you dancing to the band, Festival." I can't believe she did it. What a woman! Posted by Hello

Richard Romero and MaryAnn at the rally at Tiguex Park. Posted by Hello

The Romero Rally at Tiguex Park

OLD TOWN--Richard Romero is running against Heather Wilson for US Congress. He is a truly fine person with a great record of achievement in the New Mexico Legislature. He also led a coalition of both Dems and Reps to unseat House Speaker Manny Aragon. Yet, he is portrayed in Wilson's attack ads as someone who has done nothing but go on "junkets" and miss votes. Then the ads say Romero is guilty of negative campaigning! It is more than irony, it is deceitful and purposely so.
Wilson's other ads try to show her as something of a maverick when it comes to voting Republican. But she is not: she votes the party line as laid down by Tom DeLay of Texas. You know, I am not even sure where she is from. Pete Domenici found her somewhere back east (I bet that's a story!) and had her installed in Gary Johnson's administration. When Steve Schiff died he backed her for Congress and there she is.
Romero is said to be within 4% of Wilson. That's close! Of course the house districts are laid out to the advantage of the Republicans. How else can you explain that Dems have about a 2-1 advantage in registration, usually control the governorship, control both houses of the state legislature...and still the US House seats are 2 "safe" seats for Republicans and 1 "safe" seat for Democrats. I sure would like to change that!

Two guys from North Carolina rolling into ABQ and loving every minute of it! Good luck, guys! Posted by Hello

On the Road...No, On the ROAD

DOWNTOWN--I ran into a couple of guys last week eating at one of those sidewalk places downtown. They had motorcycles parked right in front of the place: a BMW touring bike and a Suzuki bike that looked something like a Harley. They had North Carolina plates. They sure looked happy. We started talking. It seems they are going coast to coast. Right now they are following Route 66, doing about 150 miles a day. That seems about right to me...nice and easy...looking around at everything...sitting in the shade of every neighborhood. One of the riders had a Mac and was doing a web page of the Route 66 part of the journey. I have visited it and it is a thumbnail album with some fantastic pix of the route.

For those who haven't really been on that route, it starts at the Chicago Art Institute on Michigan Ave. and ends at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. I have been to both ends. Following the old route now is sometimes hard. When I came to New Mexico in 1970, the interstate highway system was not completed and parts ofRoute 66 were still in use. I bet it is about 2500 miles long. 150 miles a day sounds just about right. What a trip.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Sam Roll: Looking Good in Suit and Lollipop

Sam Roll caught in a unguarded moment stealing candy from a little kid. Posted by Hello

Santullo Wins Icons of New Mexico Contest

NOB HILL--Mike Santullo correctly identified the mystery man in Wednesday's photo as Dr. Sam Roll. Mike and Sam are good friends. The rest of us know Sam as the guy in the $1000 suit. In fact, most of us can't think of anybody else that shows up on Central Ave. who even owns a suit. Maybe a sports coat...maybe an old leisure suit (just kidding), maybe even a Santa Claus suit, but nobody wears a suit like THAT! That suit is big city.
The fact is that Sam Roll is one of smartest, funniest, and kindest suit-wearers anywhere. And I am proud to call him an Icon of this neighborhood.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

An Eyeful of Light...A Glimpse of Darkness

Rescue personnel discuss the situation with paramedics. Posted by Hello

Waiting for Rescue

SAN MATEO SE--I am standing in front of the Thai Ginger waiting for the rescue unit to arrive. It does and two young men in AFD tee-shirts bring their equipment inside. A woman of 80 is feeling fact she has been on the verge of passing out for several minutes. She doesn't want to go to the hospital. The ambulance pulls up and two more guys come in, wearing the white shirts of paramedics. She is insistent about not going anywhere, but her friends prevail upon her and she leaves the restaurant strapped to a yellow guerney.

Almost every day I am in some way reminded of how thinly spread is the gift of life. Just beneath our warm skin, just behind that smile, just under your fingers stretched out on that keyboard is the reality of time and existence. Share your cookies. Hold hands crossing the street. It all will be over soon enough.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Who is this man? Email me first with the correct answer and get a free cup of coffee at the Flying Star! Answer Friday. Posted by Hello

Wednesday Night Chess!

Each player has 30 minutes in which to think and make his moves. The chess clock keeps track of the time. After making a move, the player punches his clock, stopping his time and starting his opponent's. Posted by Hello

In the Frontier, It's Still Mano a Mano.

FRONTIER RESTAURANT--It's 7:00 Wednesday evening and the Coronado Chess Club has just started the first of it's two half-hour games in the last room of the Frontier. There are about twenty players sitting at tables across from each other. The games are just beginning. Several people stand watching them. The players don't seem to take much notice. At a nearby table, a writing seminar is wrapping up a discussion about who of the group has actually had a piece published. Nobody hears them.
MaryAnn and I go from game to game watching as the pieces are developed. She is an excellent player in casual situations. She also has the courage to play in tournaments, having done so more than once. But neither of us are ready to partake of this sort of mental conflict tonight. Four female UNM students walk in asking if they could rent a set. They do for a buck.
Someone once told me that Lenin insisted that all of his generals play chess. Whether or not this is true I do not know. I do know that chess has a lot of lessons to teach...especially about conflict. GWBush is a poker player, not a chess player. Poker has a different way of finding winners. Luck (or divine intervention), not personal decisions, determine the ultimate outcome.
Our foreign policy reflects a poker-player's mentality. It is full of the bluff, of upping the ante, of going "all in." It is a winner-take-all way of looking at the world.
Dues for members are $10/year. Food and drink are available at the counter.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

APS: Is It Outsourcing Sub Work Overseas?

APS--APS substitute services are in total chaos...and have been for several weeks. Teachers can't call in to get a sub, subs can't call in to get a job. Teachers are now calling people on their own when they need a substitute! And what is to blame for this mess? Here is what the sub desk said to one of the substitutes who went down there in person: The bad weather in FLORIDA is causing all the problems. I beg your pardon?

Of course APS, Inc. has not said anything at keeping with their corporate silence policy. But the candor of the desk employee leads us to a few questions.
  • How is Florida connected to APS?
  • Are we outsourcing our computer work to Florida? Is it in fact going overseas?
  • Can't we find anybody here in ABQ (home of Intel, Sandia NL, etc.) that can do this work?

How long before we hear the familiar cry echoing through the halls of APS power? ".........Oh Rigo!!"

Monday, September 20, 2004


A rainy night, a shared umbrella...reflections on Central Ave. Posted by Hello

Rain Story

NOB HILL--MaryAnn and I were sitting outside the Flying Star last night as life in the wet lane unfolded before us. A restaurant with sidewalk tables AND an awning has to be the best thing in the world. It certainly was last night, as an evening shower freshened the edges of a translucent sky.
Behind us, at the table by the door, two young women had come outside to smoke. They lit up and one produced a birthday present for the other. It was a purse...just right it seems for certain moments in the busy life of the giftee.
"I saw him last night," the birthday girl began. "I was like, 'Aauugh!'"
"Duh!" exclaimed her friend.
"Like AAAAAuuuuggggghhh!"
"Like Uuuhhh Hhhhuuuu!!!"
Cigarettes finished, the two wandered back to whomever...whatever...was waiting for them.

Another Reason to Stay Out of the Ditches!!!

Bob Evans gets a closer look at monster turtle as the platter-sized amphibian heads for the river' Posted by Hello

Monster Turtle Gets Flushed Down Diversion Channel!

SOUTH VALLEY--Bob Evans and I came upon it this morning on the SV bike trail just opposite Mountain View School. It was big...real big...almost the size of a manhole cover. And it was walking/swimming in the arroyo! When stretched out the head and neck were about a foot long. The shell was almost 2 feet from front to back, and the tail stuck out a good 9 inches. That makes this monster almost 4 feet long! The turtle was on its way downstream towards the river. It must have been flushed out of the grassy channel next to the junkyards. We left it in peace...partly because it was too scary to do anything with it.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

A Wonderful View on the South Valley Bike Trail.

MaryAnn rides at the far southern end of the south valley loop. Posted by Hello

The bike trail between Bridge and Rio Bravo is one of the most beautiful in the city. The shade makes it fairly cool, even in late afternoon. Posted by Hello

Our South Valley

SOUTH VALLEY--MaryAnn and I rode the south valley loop this morning. As anybody who has ridden it will tell you it is probably the most beautiful and interesting of all the bike trails in town. It is sometimes called the "Tour de Junkyards" and it is true that it does pass some outstanding collections of vintage car husks, including what is probably the largest gathering of scavanged VW buses in the state. But there is a lot more to the route than junkyards. For instance:
  • It passes by the Hispanic Cultural Center.
  • And the Bueno Foods chile processing plant.
  • In season there are cranes and geese in the fields and 20 feet overhead.
  • There are always ducks, roadrunners, horses, and turtles.
  • About 3 miles of the route is shaded (and next to water).
  • There is a nice little hill going up Rio Bravo.
  • Graffiti abounds at the southern end of the route.
  • A one mile sidetrip down Shirk Rd. takes you to the Confederate campsite used by Gen. Sibley both heading north and south.
  • Pumpkins, corn, and chile.
  • Another side trip takes you down to the river in as close to a wilderness setting as you will find in town.

Try is once. You'll do it again. The only caveat, watch for goatheads on Rio Bravo and up by the arroyo. Stay in the center of the trail in those locations.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Ginger, Rice, and Raw Fish

Can anyone tell me what, except for ginger, I ate? Posted by Hello

Fridays We Eat Out

DOWNTOWN--Almost every Friday MaryAnn and I meet Mike and Carol for dinner at some restaurant. We have done this for about a year, and we must have been to 20 or 30 different places. It is one of the highlights of the week. We call each other about 4:30 and arrange to meet somewhere at 5:30. No fuss. No crowds that early. And we still have the evening to do whatever we want.

Tonight we went to the Sushi King. It's downtown near the everpopular meat warehouse, Tucano's. Now I didn't start eating fish as an adult until I met MaryAnn, about 4 years ago. Sometimes it made me sick...felt like stomach cramps. Anyway, I regard sushi as a real test of my pescadorial manhood. But after all, I am Scandinavian: we eat lots of fish.

Here is the story about tonights meal: I ordered Combo "A". It looked wonderful. It tasted great. I have no idea what it was. It didn't fill me up. It cost 9 bucks.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Casket on a Flatbed Hearse. Posted by Hello

18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses

RIO BRAVO--This morning my Tuesday/Thursday biking partner Bob Evans and I were picking our way through the broken glass and goatheads on the Rio Bravo bike trail when we heard this really strange wail. It sounded like a lot of those plastic horns you hear at a Mexican soccer game. Aaarrrgh...Aaarrrgh. Anyway, as we passed some trees and got to the intersection we saw about 20 or 30 semi trucks honking their horns. They were in some sort of parade and going very slowly, about 5 mph. We cut between them at the intersection (they weren't stopping for the light) and caught up with the first truck. It was hauling a flatbed trailer and on the trailer was a coffin! Behind the semi were two long white limosines. The other 20 or 30 trucks followed. They went up the hill at Rio Bravo and turned north on Broadway...still honking, still going 5 mph.

It was, I am sure, a procession his family and friends will remember forever. Aaarrrgh...Aaarrrgh.

The Real Deal

Spotlights shine on John Kerry speaking to thousands of supporters in Albuquerque's Southeast heights. Posted by Hello

Thousands Cheer Kerry! Thousands!

PHIL CHACON PARK--Thousands of people waited 2 hours to hear what Senator John Kerry had to say late this afternoon. It was hot in the sun, but campaign volunteers passed through the crowd handing out water bottles. Almost everyone who spoke said this was the most important election of our lifetime. Now I was born in the spring of 1943. I went out by myself in 1948 passing out anti-Republican "Dewey Bucks" around our neighborhood in Rockford, Illinois. I was five. I have never voted for a Republican for President. But there was one Democrat that I didn't vote for either. Maybe I'll talk about that later.

At any rate, the Democrats are right: this is the most important election in my lifetime anyway. The reason is that we can make a difference this time. There is a REAL big difference between where GWB wants to continue taking this country and where Kerry wants to go. I, myself, cannot imagine that anyone who truly loves this country and ALL her people could lie to us, take money away from social security and give to the rich in tax breaks, refuse to stop the reintroduction of AK-47's in the general marketplace, put his personal faith before science and the health of the people he should be protecting. But I am not perfect. Maybe you have a different opinion. Register and vote!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Donna Doolittle and Helen Davis paint china at the Highland Center. Lively conversation helps the brushes glide through the details of intricate designs. Posted by Hello

Painting China

HIGHLAND--One of the best surprises about being retired is how much fun I am having! And part of it came from going to the Highland Senior Center to check things out. I signed up for China Painting the first time I went there. No, it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. And the starting materials were certainly not cheap. And my hands and fingers are so big that it is hard to curl them around those little brushes. But there was something about sitting around a table with some really interesting people trying to make wild roses on a plate. I have done it for a month...2 or 3 hours once a week. I am still working on my plate...a pretty small plate, actually. It has 4 roses and a lot of leaves. This kind of painting requires that it be fired every time you add a new layer of detail. Time flies. A lot of the credit goes to the instructor, Lena Avila. But all the painters are so encouraging and patient. Thanks everybody.

What size might that be?

NOB HILL--I have been taking these posted pictures with my camera phone. I just take the picture and email it back to my computer. It's a wonderful deal. (That is, unless there is a hidden charge that I don't know about). But I did miss one good shot yesterday.

A gray-haired guy who must have been about 60 years old was talking to a young woman in back of the Starbuck's here in Nob Hill. She was wearing the green apron of a Starbuck's employee. The sun was starting to go down. He was talking to her and holding something in front of him. I thought it might be a bird cage. It was hanging from his hands by a couple of thin steel straps. I couldn't tell what it was exactly, but the young woman looked a little dumbfounded. I never did get real close to them, but the angle changed and I was able to finally make out what the man was holding. It was a steel-wired bustier with what looked to be iron tits. It had hinges running up the front and he was holding it in an open position. The young lady seemed impressed but kept shaking her head from side to side. All I could hear her say was, "...but thanks for showing it to me."

I sure wish I could have taken a picture of that!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

MaryAnn looks out on Tulane Dr. as she brings the new ristra to life. Posted by Hello

Sparkle Plenty

NOB HILL--Sometimes what is visual expresses so much more about the nature of being alive than my homely words can say. It is in that spirit that I publish the above picture of my girlfriend, MaryAnn. She makes everything sparkle.

Oh Rigo...Rigo...Rigo...

APS--Rigo Chavez has become the spokesperson for APS, Inc. He doesn't make any of the decisions, but he is the one left holding the bag when it comes to looking like an idiot trying to explain them. Take the decision, announced yesterday, that the APS and APD personnel who live on some of the campuses that used to have a lot of late-night activity will now have to pay rent. Of course nobody is going to do that to live isolated on a school grounds at night and patrol the buildings once in a while. They are asking close to $400 per month. Rigo says districtwide we can save around $4000 per month by charging the police to live there. hahahahahah... I have a feeling they will get no rent and have no "on campus" security either. You need a better job, Rigo. Sooner or later Albuquerque will be tired of all the stupid things you are saying...and you will have no credibility or future with this district. The administrators at the top will have used it all up. And none of these lame explanations and pronouncements are even your idea!

Which brings us to another issue. Who is the gutless administrator who sent Rigo out to take the heat for this really idiotic decision. (One night of unchecked vandalism can wipe out those district savings in a hurry). Would somebody please stand up and be accountable?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Jorge roasting a sack of Sandia Hot. Posted by Hello

Turning Red!

NORTH VALLEY--The chile is starting to turn RED! So it is indeed time to get some green. I went up to the Fruit Basket up on North Fourth today and it was selling for about $15 roasted. By the way, the roaster does make a difference. Last year at a different store (I am embarrassed to say which one) the roaster had the burners too hot so he had to stop the roasting early. When I went to peel it, half of the skin wouldn't come off and the other half was burned into little pieces of charcoal! It took forever.

This time, however, I was well taken care of by Jorge...a young man who knows what he is doing. I also bought a 3 ft. ristra of red. I love how bright and rich the color is before it dries out completely. I do use the chile. I pick it off the top of the ristra all year, so by summer it doesn't look too pretty, but that bare string tells its own story.

I stopped to buy freezer bags at the N. 4th St. Smith's. They were out (of course). They had some at the Yale Ave. Smith's store (of course). It came out to 26 freezer bags full with a dozen chiles in each. So I guess that is somewhere around 75 cents/bag. As if anybody freezes green chile to save money.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The crowded Kerry meeting Sunday afternoon. Hundreds were there with only one thing on their minds: beating Bush. Posted by Hello


NOB HILL--I fried catfish and made tartar sauce for dinner tonight. MaryAnn, Ken and I ate on our recently remodeled porch. I love this time of year. Earlier I went down to Kerry HQ on Central Ave. for a meeting. It was supposed to last 4 hours. It may have. At any rate, there were a couple hundred people there. It was really crowded: people sitting and standing everywhere...rooms full of people who couldn't even see the speaker.
I don't think anyone realizes how bad most of us want to beat GW Bush. The man standing next to me had driven to the meeting from Torrence County. What an example to me he was. Still, the group broke up into smaller groups and ours was on the sidewalk west of the building. It was very hot...and I did not last until four.

The Artist Ken Saville Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Apples and the Teacher

LOS RANCHOS--MaryAnn has been stressed out all week over the corporate-style arrogance of APS. Maybe she actually would say she is stressed out about work. I would say it is the nature of APS to not communicate with their employees, to hold teachers accountable but not the people in charge of the whole system, to confuse numbers with reality, to think 13 years of standardized testing will result in a better education, and to generally proceed as if humanity (both employees and students) could be understood individually by looking at a score.

At any rate, I thought we needed to relax...and what better place than in the patio of El Pinto on North Fourth St. Of course the food was great. And yes the waiter was so friendly in a respectful sort of way. But the big story here is that wonderful patio.

We sat under the territorial portal. There were brick floors, plants everywhere...including an apple tree that kept dropping big apples all night. And there were tiny white lights. The sun went down. It was as if it were the background for a fabulously beautiful woman, a real, North Valley Mona Lisa. And there she was sitting at the same table: MaryAnn. How wonderful she looked. I am so glad we went there.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Beauty and Baby

NOB HILL--1500 miles away from here and 50 years ago, an eleven year-old boy sat in the living room of his Rockford, Illinois home watching the family dog Beauty. With chores and homework ahead of him, the boy looked at the sleeping pet and wished he could trade places...that life could be that simple and easy. Now, 61 years-old, retired, and sitting in the living room, I look at the dog Baby sleeping on the porch and wonder about how alike our lives are. Only it is not "simple and easy" that we share. What we share is Waiting. Waiting.

In 3 hours MaryAnn will be home. In 4 hours we will be eating with Mike and Carol. In 5 hours we will be at the art gallery with Russell Adams and Sam Pillsbury. Then coffee. Then home.

Simple. Easy. (right?)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Inspector Gadget

NOB HILL--I have been asked to follow Inspector Gadget: that is, to see where he goes, find out how he wears two or three sets of absurd-looking outfits every day, see where he lives. Oh everybody knows he stacks the chairs on the Starbucks patio every evening, but who dresses him up in those outfits? And what about that attitude as he peers over those dark glasses perched far down on his nose? MaryAnn named him. It was because of the trenchcoat and porkpie hat. We don't think he's homeless. He must live where somebody watches over him. He does his part on Central Ave: constantly in motion, he straightens up whatever he sees.

Just seeing him brings Good Luck into your life. And having him return your greeting (which he will do if you are persistent enough) brings instant happiness. Carry on, Inspector.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Rituals of Camping

SOMEWHERE EAST OF SNOW LAKE, CATRON COUNTY--The stove works with the lantern plunger in it! There is probably a more global lesson here, but I will instead go on to what we had for breakfast: bratwurst, bacon, fried potatoes, eggs, and coffee. Ken had one less egg than I did. My dog Baby ate everything we did, but in a more petite size.
I have seldom seen Snow Lake this crowded: it was about half full. But it was Labor Day weekend and also the Elk bow season is underway. The bad news is that there are a lot of hunters. The good news is that they are bow hunters and you don't hear shots going off all the time.
Not that we camped at Snow Lake! Ken and I rarely use developed campgrounds. We prefer to go way off and away from everybody. Primitive conditions. We carry everything we need to be comfortable:
  1. 2 chairs
  2. 2 tables (one for cooking, one for eating)
  3. 8 gallon jugs of water
  4. a tarp
  5. 2 tents
  6. 2 sleeping bags with pads
  7. our own pillows
  8. 1 50 year old stove
  9. 1 50 year old lantern
  10. large cooler full of beverages and food
  11. box of stuff
  12. 2 hatchets
  13. 1 dog with food
  14. 1 50 year old chuck box (made by my dad)

A lot of this stuff has personal meaning to each of us. And camping is so ritualized that it is sometimes important to have just the right piece of equipment (like that old stove)...even if you have to nurture it along.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Plunger Troubles...and Rule #1

ELK MOUNTAIN, CATRON COUNTY--222 miles from Nob Hill (by way of Apache Creek). To escape the tension of this political season, the Artist Ken Saville and I have gone camping in the Gila. Unfortunately, my Coleman stove wouldn't work. Thus, we had foil-wrapped dinners rather than spaghetti.
My Coleman stove is about 50 years old. My father bought it new and we used it extensively while I was growing up. I also use it quite a bit, running through a gallon of fuel or so each year. At any rate the plunger didn't seem to want to pressurize the gas tank: it just slipped in and out like (oh never mind)...the point is there wasn't any pressure build-up. I figured the leather washer at the end of the plunger needed some oil for a better seal. So I got some oil from the Toyota dipstick and applied it to the washer. It didn't work.
To make a long story a little bit shorter, nothing worked. Well, as I write this by lantern-light I am wondering if my lantern plunger is interchangeable with the one on the stove. We will find out in the morning!
While buying groceriesin Socorro, we bought a couple of brownies from kids having a bake sale in front of the Smith's. They were trying to earn money for a class trip to Washington DC. Yours Truly Johnny Mango buys stuff at bake sales. Why? Because I am a liberal as well as a boulevardier...and I have my own set of rules.
Rule #1 for Liberal Boulevardiers:
Get something at the bake sale.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Boulevardiers

NOB HILL--The Boulevardiers were all out there this afternoon, lounging in the metal chairs in front of the Flying Star: Hal, Russell, David, MaryAnn, and Yours Truly...Johnny Mango. It was a sporting sort of afternoon and we watched the various games being played on the sidewalk and street in front of us: parallel parking, girl-watching, boy-watching, Kerry campaign scamming, sidewalk biking, bus frequency and know, the regular life-filling minutiae that accompanies an iced tea or a cup of coffee. Late afternoon and early evening on the shady side of Central Ave. is truly wonderful.

A nice-looking young lady in a security guard uniform bummed a cigarette from a woman sitting at the next table, a woman who looked like she owned a motorcycle but didn't have it with her. They talked for a while about people who get in your face. Then, after another woman came up and talked in private to the bike-less woman, Bikeless, coming back to the table and the young lady with a red face, suddenly remembered she had an ice sculpture in the van that needed to be delivered in Corrales. So she left. I am not making this up. MaryAnn and I left as well...not wanting to be late for our usual Friday dinner with Mike and Carol. Tonight it's the Bangkok Cafe.