Cactus Farmer

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 

A few years back, when I was in 3rd or 4th Grade, my brother and I went to visit David and Jesse Lenat at their Cactus Farm. While we were exploring the green houses, their dad, Richard, gave us each a cactus to take home.

Mine lived in a small pot near the window through the rest of grade school and high school and then my mom cared for it through college. It grew into a little cluster of pencil thin green, spiky pads over the years.

After I graduated, moved to California, and got an apartment in SF; I was home for Christmas one year and took one of the pads wrapped in tissue to California. It grew well there and now produces big, bright yellow flowers every year.

This Christmas, I stuffed two tiny buds into glass bottles and brought them to Iraq and planted in the yard with one of the cat’s help (paw in the background).


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Posted at 03:01:17 GMT-0700

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Lightning Strikes in Basra

Friday, May 11, 2012 

Cool storm last night.



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Posted at 10:48:22 GMT-0700

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Friday, May 11, 2012 

New experience today – 129+F Wikipedia says the highest temperature recorded in Basra was 52C. Now the car was driving over a sunlit road, so it was recording a higher temperature than you would see over shaded ground, but it is only May.

Summer is going to be fun.

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Posted at 09:42:05 GMT-0700

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Fantomatik Orchestra at Borgo a Mozzano

Thursday, November 3, 2011 

The Fantomatik Orchestra performing at Halloween at Borgo a Mozzano


That’s our local butcher dancing with the cow’s head and eyeball.

(on youtube the video is available in 1080)

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Sunday, October 30, 2011 

Arriving in Italy we found our apartment had been squatted in by a swarm of hornets, probably through the chimney. It appeared they’d recently had a massive party and most, but not all had died.

We started a fire to clear the chimney and dispose of the corpses, which given how gigantic they were, was a lot of burning. By a lot, I mean dustpans full of hornets, some still crawling, at a time.

They could have been European Hornets, but the largest were closer to 5cm or so, fairly large even for European Hornets.



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Posted at 02:05:58 GMT-0700

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Rebuilding is Complete

Thursday, October 20, 2011 

I wish to thank everyone for their support in this brief moment of crisis.


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Posted at 14:59:07 GMT-0700

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I WILL rebuild

Thursday, October 20, 2011 

Earthquake damage


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Posted at 14:53:00 GMT-0700

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Thursday, October 20, 2011 

I went to see Scrapper, the documentary by Stephen Wassmann, that was showing as part of the SF Documentary Film Festival.   It is the story of the people who live between the Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountain Bombing Range and make a living gathering scrap metal off the range between bombing runs.

It’s quite a frank and intimate portrayal of some extremely eccentric characters.  They spend their time divided between driving around the range gently prying the aluminum tail fins off unexploded ordinance, heating the booty over open fires to loosen the scrap-value-reducing steel rivets, and doing crystal meth and drinking, though the last activity isn’t so much divided from the former two.

The most entertaining character is an old guy who set up camp on the isolated East side of the range, far from humanity, and cruises around the range in a highly modified VW bug living a life pretty much straight out of the Road Warrior.

It is definitely a movie where every moment seems to balance precariously on the edge of a ravine or on a delicate trip wire on a 2,000# bomb that failed to release when it buried itself fins-deep in the desert sand.


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Posted at 04:18:18 GMT-0700

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Only in NY

Friday, September 23, 2011 

Yes, the fire truck is on fire.
I smelled burning plastic from across the street and looked up to see a smoke plume coming out of the passenger cabin of the ladder truck across the street.  They seem to have put it out before the truck burned.  They are firemen after all.
Even better, it is parked in front of FDNY gifts.

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Yard Berries are Fruiting

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 

The urban blackberries and raspberries are starting to fruit.


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Posted at 11:57:36 GMT-0700

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