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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Arizona
Home country: US
Current location: Baja Arizona
Member since: Fri Feb 27, 2004, 02:17 PM
Number of posts: 38,996

About Me

because I LIKE the principle of transparency: last check revealed 17 full- and 20 PM-ignoring me. 6 posts hidden so far since the switch to DU3

Journal Archives

hey Loungers, can I ask (yet another) favor?

I posted the link earlier but I don't think anybody saw it ( http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1018&pid=608194 )

Could a few of you sign the guestbook? http://www.legacy.com/EnhancedObit/EnhancedObit.aspx?PersonId=170713443

Thanks in advance

Wait Wut has created PERFECTION

Mamakitty, 1999 - 4/7/2014

Picacho Peak (Pic heavy)


I picked up MFM's ashes on Saturday and decided to drive out to Picacho to have a look around. Took a few pix. (light wasn't the best, sorry)

check out the saguaros way up there on the rock edge

old memorial for the Civil War "battle"

nice spot for a picnic/bbq/reunion

a young saguaro that might make a living "marker"

and finally, a now-defunct business nearby (there is an adult store across the way as well ) with the perfect signage

moonrise over the Dragoons

was supposed to go visit friends this weekend but June is not a good time to travel. watching pipelines and the water situation is too critical until we get some real rain. so I went to check waters and fence along the rail road yesterday evening. caught a glimpse of the moon coming up and stayed to take a few more. not too bad for a cheapo discount snapshot camera.

two close-ups

the man who planted trees

Guerrero Negro... (dial up warning)

...is a company town just below the border between Baja Californi Norte and Baja California Sur. The company is Exportadora de Sal, the largest salt production facility in the world - your table salt most likely originated there. They have 60 square miles of salt evaporating ponds. It is also the location of a major grey whale birthing and breeding lagoon.

A fair sized tourist industry has sprung up since the 1970s. During the season, for about US$50 you can go out on a panga for a couple of hours and get up close with these animals. (there are several other bays/lagoons in southern Baja that also have whales and similar excursions are possible). At Ojo de Liebre (aka Scammon's Lagoon) the area has fairly recently been made Biosphere Reserve, and that combined with the salt company controlling much of the access has made the situation more regulated, which is probably better for the whales. (and the local ejido that runs the boats)

to the whales (evaporating pond)


at the new whale watching facility

mandatory mounted skeleton

At any rate, whether you drive out to the whale watching point or take a tour from town, the experience is really special, if a bit regimented. As you cross the salt flats and the water comes into view you start to get all excited because you can see them spouting out there! LOTS of them!

Ticket price includes a mandatory flotation vest and out to the dock you go.

Where you board your panga, usually with a few other passengers if you are a small party. We numbered 6 plus the pangero.

off we go!

first encounter, a mother and a calf

a nostril shot

hi! a flipper

next we cruised a little ways over to see what was going on here

it seemed to be 3 males and one female having quite a time

this allowed a couple of head shots

maybe even the coveted eye (I can't tell, dammit)

under the boat

for a little scritch from the pangero

It was a magnificent experience. Thanks for looking!

a final perfect tail shot

the old windmill part 1 and 2 NOW with ***PART 3*** !!!

that is my artsy intro picture

When I was a kid, the ranch water supply consisted of several dirt stock ponds that would hold water most of the year, and two hand-dug wells about 20 to 25 feet deep. The one up the road had a gas motor attached by a belt to a lightweight pump jack. the water in it has sulfur bacteria or some kind of problem that makes the water taste like shit although it is ok for livestock or bathing (and I suppose one might eventually get used to it but...bleh. It never got used much other than in the summer to water the old apricot tree and supplement the water storage for the corrals. Grampa would fill the gas tank and start it up once a day and that was about all it produces - 4 or 5 hours of pumping. (no idea of rates anymore)

The main "house well" was down below the pecan trees. It is a concrete lined box about 6 foot sqquare. There was always a windmill over it but I have no memory of it pumping. The tower seemed to exist to temp kids into scaring their Grandmother to death. We weren't allowed to climb on it. You can imagine the reality.

It had a much heavier pump jack that also ran by belt only off an electric motor in my life time. It was covered with old bridge ties and was not the most "sanitary" situation in the world. It was my job until too recently to climb down inside to recover various deceased wildlife. Sometimes not deceased. Ever try to fish an angry racer out of a well with a stick?

This well supplied the house and the corrals both up until just a few years ago. OK more like 10, I am getting old. The southwest entered what was predicted to be a 20 year drought about 24 years ago. The well hung in for about half of that. We eventually dropped a little submersible in there and sealed the top up with concrete. About 5 years ago we had a collapse and the bottom filled in about 6 to 8 feet with soil and rock from the sides down low (that were not cased with concrete - and I always thought it was solid rock when I was hanging off that damn ladder) and buried the pump.

That was also about to where the water level had dropped, so without somebody going down in there to clean it out we were done with it. Because of the way it had caved I had extreme safety concerns - and if you know me and the sort of normal risks we live with you will read that as I was majorly askeered of going down there, or letting anybody else do it.

Jump ahead a few years and the talk of getting it cleaned out picks up - knock the concrete off the top and start watching it. It will show a little water through the year, if we could do something - clean it out someway, maybe we could at least use it for house water again - it was good tasting water (when there wasn't dead squirrels in it). The thought was to maybe drop a 20 foot length of 4 foot diameter culvert pipe down there and then start shoveling and pulling it out with a bucket like the bad old days. And there it sat - on the back, back back burner.

THEN...a couple of weeks ago...the livestock storage tank drained out one night. The husband went down to see if the cattle had broken a float or some pipe had finally rotted through. He couldn't find any mud or overflowing troughs and was standing around scratching his head when he thought he heard water running. Over by the old well.

too be continued...

Tahrir Square and Cairo street art, April 2012 - dial up warning!

I finally got a usb wireless modem and this is my first hugh! pichur post.

My sister was in Egypt last January and February during the revolution and had a chance to go back again this spring.

Enjoy these cool images.

VERIZON WIRELESS RANT (and a little record keeping to boot) (also TLDR warning, heh)

As a few of you know, I have been on glacially slow dial up for more than 10 years. A couple of weeks ago I lost even that due to wind, a tiny bit of rain, and a bird nest. At least I have it back on because that event finally made me start the process to get a faster connection and apparently I REALLY need my dial up for that.

It has just been one fuck up after another.

All I have available out here is dial-up over 70 + year old phone lines, satellite (which everybody seems to say is almost as bad as dial-up, in some cases worse) or wireless broadband from Verizon. (despite at least 6 2-inch underground conduits' worth of fiber optic passing less than 150 feet from my house - fuck you AT&T) We have had cell phones with them forEVER. (although there were a couple years we had Altell when Verizon wasn't technically available out here - prior to that a whiz tech person had rigged up some route through Nogales for us to keep a Tucson number, but one time when we got a new phone nobody could figure out how we were even on the system) A few years ago Verizon bought Altell out so we were back with them again.

Mostly the service is pretty good and tech support is in-country which I appreciate. Things out on a ranch are hard enough to explain to urban Americans, trying to explain to people outside of the country are much more difficult.

Two of the squids have (now unavailable) unlimited data plans on their smart phones. One of them is ...um, hard on the brick-a-brack, if you know what I mean and goes through about 3 phones a year. The last time he destroyed it he went almost two months before he came up with the $$ for a new one. In that time I had the brilliant idea to see if I could transfer his data plan to an air card for my laptop. I called Verizon and whoever said sure we could do that. I didn't do it then because I needed to make sure it was going to be OK with the kid. So the next time I called to see about maybe going ahead with it and getting a new plan for him, the person almost laughed at me. No way to do that.

Next time I called I had looked on-line at their website and found a used, er "certified pre-owned" modem for $50 with a 2 year contract but when I tried to get the price for month to month bills it gave me the full brand new price. The person I talked to said she could set it up for me to get the month to month and the device at the used price. I can't remember why I didn't do it right then but it is probably related to my difficulty in justifying to myself the $50 a month for a LIMITED amount of data. Anyway, I finally got to that mental space and called to order the thing. Well as you can imagine, suddenly no I can't have a used one and month to month billing. Fuckers. I do not want to commit to a 2 year contract on this becasue I don't know if a) I can actually afford it and b) it will really work out!

So I did what we do when the kids lose or destroy a phone before contract renewal time - got a used device off the internet. (GoOverstock.com through Amazon gets a rec from me here) It got here in 3 days through the US Postal service. The way I prefer to have things shipped. Because then I have all day to go AT MY LEISURE, and pick it up at the post office. FedEx and UPS won't come down our road (and I DO NOT blame them - FUCK YOU AGAIN AT&T, fix your goddamn right-of-way once this century, huh?)

When I got it I called Verizon to see about getting the SIM card for it. "Oh you can just stop at a Veriozon store and get one for free!" Uh I live 20 miles from the nearest town and the "verizon store" is the local Radio Shack which I hate. (this was last Thursday I think) "Well we can ship it FedEx to you and it will get there by Monday free!" arrggg. I decide that somebody will be going to town before Monday so tell them I will get one in town. We go ahead and set up the account so all I will have to do is activate the thing when I get the sim card. Next day find out Radio Shack is no longer a Verizon vendor (I can imagine why, the owner is...let's just say he seems to enjoy his cocktail hour all day long). Walmart has Verizon products, though so send the kids over there to pick one up. They want $20 for it. Fuck that I am way too much of a tightwad for that! Another call to Verizon and another attempt by me to get them to pass a customer comment up the food chain about their delivery policies. I would rather wait extra DAYS and get things at the post office than have to try to meet a private-company driver who often has no cell phone.

I watch the tracking on line all weekend and on Tuesday call FedEx to make sure whatever office this is going to go from onto the truck knows to either call me or tell the driver to when he/she gets to Benson so I can meet them at the end of our road (or wherever) Yesterday I sat around all morning waiting and they finally called around 11. Got my new sim card - all excited - going to get on line, load some pix my sister emailed from Egypt that I can't even open on dial-up and maybe come post them on DU!!! yahoo, right?!! Oh HELL no.

Nothing works, can't get the frigging thing to connect, tech support can't figure it out, finally they decide my previous call didn't set up the new account right and they send me to sales...this person can't seem to grasp anything I tell her and finally INSISTS the company I bought the device from had set me up with a contract to go through them and that is why she can't activate - have to do it through them. I am like WTF? no way no way no way, the whole point of ordering a USED device from an ELECTRONIC RETAILER was to AVOID a contract. There is NOTHING about connecting through them or any kind of contracts ANYWHERE in the order, delivery emails, or paper invoice. So I had to contact them to ask WTF. They (GoOverstock.com - another little rec from me) were pretty cool and sent a good e-mail with clear instructions and mentioned sometimes the commissioned sales people have some "trouble" connecting you when they don't actually get a commission due to the way you are doing things. I try the instructions, which were to go on-line and activate that way. My first problem is entering the sim card's ID number - "a number on the card between 15 and 19 digits" mine had 20. Error message can not activate at this time call 800-xxx-xxxx.

SOOOO I call Verizon back AGAIN and get a pretty good tech guy that checks things out and runs interference for me with the next sales person so we can get the fricking thing set up right. Why? because when the damn device wouldn't connect right the first time the sim card got automatically "retired". Not only do I need to set up a new account again, but they need to send me another sim card.


But wait it isn't over by a long shot! They try to kiss my ass a little by sending it free overnight! oooh. So yesterday evening these e-mails start rolling in. First an order confirmation. Ok good. Then a shipping notice - cool. Wait - it says it is being shipped USPS. WTF? I thought they couldn't do that? Wow that guy was good and he really listened to my bitching! Click on tracking number and get a "can't find" message. Ok maybe it is just not in the system yet, no biggie. Then I get another shipping notice. And a third one. The second one's numbers matched the ones in the original order confirmation but none of the tracking numbers get anything but an error not found message. Oh well I will worry about it in the morning.

Try everything again this morning. All error not found for the tracking numbers. Try to call customer service. not in until 6. go do some chores, try again. Talk to somebody. They are ALL confused. On hold while person confers with their "team". Comes back with a helpful message.

Current status/knowledge? My order should be here "soon", disregard those 4 e-mails - system errors, coming FedEx, no tracking number available yet, there was some "problem" with the 4G sims yesterday. That is it.

Oh wait, he offered to get me the FedEx 800 number. Hi FedEx? Do you have a random package from Verizon for me somewhere? No I don't have any numbers or any idea where it was shipped from, or even what address they put on it for delivery. Maybe your driver could just stop at a Verizon store in Tucson or Sierra Vista and pick up a new sim card for me? They are supposed to be free.

I'm just sitting here going

edit: just checked my e-mail and they sent me some spam about a sale on 4G smartphones!!!

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