Tuesday, November 27, 2007
A close-up shot of a high quality Campo del Cielo meteorite. This specimen weighs 6.21 kg or 13 pounds, 11 ounces. Sold.
While this piece is sold, I have many smaller pieces that are similar and more affordable. Don't miss your chance to own a piece of outer space.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Wherever I've gone this year, if my Airstream is with me I stay in it. It's my home. Everything I need is there and it's great to have your own space. Because it is so cold I've had to fully engage my vintage 1973 furnace. It runs on propane and does a good job of keeping the trailer warm. At least when it works.
A few nights ago at about midnight the heat really started to bother me. Twenty-two degrees outside and over 80 in the Airstream. We were getting roasted. Jake was on the floor and I was miserably hot. Something was wrong. I'd been messing with increasing frequency with the thermostat--even turning it off. To no avail. The furnace just kept running. It was late. I was tired. I didn't know what to do.
I cut the gas to the furnace and did the unthinkable . . . I went inside my sister's house and slept in her guest bedroom.
The next day after posting on the Airstream Forum and getting some tips (www.airforums.com) I took the cover off the thermostat and poked around. I don't know that I actually did anything but the device started to control the furnace again and has been acting fine ever since.
That night I woke up and I was freezing. I am fairly sure that I just ran out of propane in the tank I was using. I went outside, switched tanks (I am sure this should or could happen automatically, but . . . ). I came back in, shivering, and re-lit the pilot light and fired up the old beast again. I curled up in bed with Jake at my feet and reached over to see if hot air was coming out now. It was. I fell back to sleep.
I did a lot of work today in the trailer and used the furnace all day. At some point in the early evening, with the winds howling and the Airstream plenty warm, I decided to cry uncle. For the next few nights I am saving propane and sleeping in the guest bedroom inside. Everything is working in the Airstream, but I am burning through propane fast and there is a free warm room available.
I will still work out of the trailer as needed during the day.
What kind of full-timer am I?
Friday, November 23, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I love Portland. It's a sophisticated small city that is surprisingly cosmopolitan. It's also very wet, and very green--a nice contrast to the vast mountain west and southwest that I know much better.
These past two days I spent more time with local friends, went to a vineyard, and enjoyed the area. Heading home to Idaho tomorrow. Home is where my Airstream and puppy are--this has been an Airstreamless leg of my travels. Home for the moment is also my sister Elise's farm.
Kellie and I are still on speaking terms after nearly two weeks together. That's a good thing! We both tend toward being a little bull-headed. I was mostly an assistant to her on these two shows, with a fraction of my normal inventory out and for sale. We had a major theft at our Tacoma show which was a serious downer. It was her inventory that took the hit. She'll survive it, but the thief dealt a blow. Sunday night we wrapped the Portland show and packed up. It was a two margarita dinner for me afterwards and the alchohol was welcome after a long weekend.
Homesick for my Airstream, my pup, my sister, nephew, and all of our horses in Idaho.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tonight in Portland, Oregon my friends Steve and Herb took me to see Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie--a dance company out of Montreal. I came within 40 miles of Montreal three times in August and September, but never quite made it due to time limitations. How lucky to have Montreal come to me.
The production began with a whimsical series of half a dozen couples dancing sequentially to happy, classical music. Act II began with a wonderful piece featuring two men dancing. The two men were supporting each other--one would pick up the other from a broken, dejected state, the mood was lifted and soon the favor was returned. In the meantime their dance featured acrobatic feats of athleticism and beauty. A haunting lyric provided the background for this piece--it was in the genre of the Depression-era music of Woody Guthrie.
The theater was as much a masterpiece as the production. It's Portland's Paramount--a large 1920s theater built in an Italian Renaissance-style. It's a building that takes your breath away. Today it's named the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall after one of the benefactors that helped save and restore the property.
Spamelot and tonight's dance production were both wonderful treats.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Last night I spent the night with Paul, his wife Darcy, and their kids. He lives about 20 miles north of Redmond, Washington--the center of the Microsoft universe.
Paul is always ready to offer a brain dump. This man is a bona fide genius, and he's articulate. After leaving Novell--reluctantly--Reiner went to work for the world's fiercest software company. The writing was on the wall at Novell, and had been for some time. The company's glory days were over and the opportunities were limited. When you can beat 'em . . . .
Paul joined Microsoft in 1999 and was an employee for four years. Initially he helped run the executive briefing center where MS schmoozes clients and world leaders. Among others he gave then Vice President Al Gore a briefing on technology.
His ability to cut to the chase and analyze problems was quickly recognized at the software behemoth. Within 90 days of starting Reiner was beckoned by Steve Balmer to brainstorm some big picture issues affecting the company. His immediate bosses had never seen such a thing--being called in to consult with such a senior executive. Balmer replaced Bill Gates as CEO in 2000. Paul met with Balmer who reassigned him to a more important role helping to define architecture of key software being developed in Redmond.
I am a user of technology and because of my six years working in the software industry I have a basic grasp of some technology issues that goes a little deeper than many people. But I am not a technologist. Paul is. He's a man with a deep and profound understanding of computer science. He's also someone who can easily explain the most difficult concepts. His deep understanding and quick mind allows him to see through complex issues and problems to find solutions.
Our conversations last night and this morning ran the gamut. Paul did the vast majority of the talking and I did my best to absorb all that he emitted--it was a lot.
In 1997 I ran Novell Consulting's truck tour--we built a mobile classroom in a semi that we took to 38 cities in the U.S. and Canada. I enlisted Paul's assistance. His task was to rig up a mobile Internet connection for our truck that would allow us to show off one of Novell's latest products. We would have the first, or at least one of the very first, completely mobile Internet connections on the planet. There were no commercial solutions for this available at that time--ours was a custom job. Paul took this on and had it working in no time. It was one of the coolest things about our very slick mobile classroom, a setup we spent close to a million dollars creating.
I loved seeing Paul and Darcy and their family. Today Paul is a high level consultant hired by Microsoft and leading a team of others in Redmond. Such arrangements have become increasingly common at Microsoft. He gets to be part of the world's most powerful software company, a company whose ability to commercialize software amazes even Paul, yet he's no longer an employee. He says this is the best possibility. He was going to tour me around the MS campus, but it worked out better for my schedule to visit him at his home. I am glad it did--it was fun to spend time with him and his fertile mind.
This is one of the greatest advantages of being an Airstreamer--connecting with so many friends and family throughout the continent. As I drove past Lake Washington today, beginning my way south, I thought of Lake Champlain between Vermont, New York, and Canada--a body of water I'd most recently crossed only six week ago. From Lake Champlain to Lake Washington I've covered the northern part of the country. With winter's quick approach I am headed south.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wrapping up the second day of my twelve day trip with Kellie Forbes. I first met Kellie just under six years ago when I hired her to be my right hand woman during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Here we are again, working hard, and having fun.
Kellie is the woman who introduced me to rock and gem shows and indirectly to meteorites too. She's built a huge business since the Olympics in this industry. She's a talented jewelry designer and has a huge inventory of beads and paraphenalia for making jewelry (silver, clasps, crystal . . . ).
In 39 days I've gone from Windrock Farm in New York to the Pacific Northwest. That's some traveling, especially without an aeroplane!
It's been a crazy couple of days. I was packing up from my Whiskey Creek Farms show earlier yesterday and prepping and packing for this trip. I should say semi-frantically trying to get a hundred things done. One of the "other" things was getting my Airstream winterized since I am exposing it to freezing weather before I head south for the winter. I am sans Airstream on this trip, traveling as Kellie's assistant for a little money and a small amount of free booth space. I chose to hire out the relatively simple task of winterizing because I was so pressed for time and didn't have the tools to do the job. This task expanded into a four hour operation (I was told I'd be in and out of the RV shop in Boise in 30 minutes).
In the meantime my sister Elise (whose farm is my current base camp) was staying home for the day because her dog was about to welp (give birth). Welp she did. As Elise was delivering puppies she went to stand up and her back seized up on her. She was in excruciating pain and couldn't move. I found myself nursing her through the day--she considered the emergency room then decided to tough it out. I assisted with the puppies, little Jack Russell's and very cute. I eventually finished packing at 3:30 PM--about three hours past the original departure time. I later fed Elise's horses, gave Jake lots of hugs goodbye, and so on. A hectic day.
At about 6 PM Kellie arrived, thankfully late given the day. We quickly packed up my stuff for the trip and then took off for what would be an 11 hour drive to our hotel here in Washington. At 4 AM this morning we collapsed for a few hours then we were off again to set up at the show here.
Kellie has a huge amount of inventory, impressive really. She also has mastered the art of cramming inventory into a small floor space. We ran in to a guy named Mark who was our angel today. Kellie hired him on the spot and he assisted with the setup. We worked hard all day and were going strong when they kicked us out at 7 PM.
We had a quick dinner and headed back to the hotel where we have proceeded to work for many hours more. One of the things we did tonight was go through my relatively meager bead inventory and she helped me clean it up, price it, and prep it for sales.
A busy and productive day. Lots of work. It feels good to get so much done.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The art show at Whiskey Creek Farms featured jewelry from a select group of top American artists.
Kellie Forbes of Accent Artistry. Utah resident Kellie Forbes does a lot of business in Idaho. She is an extremely talented jewelry designer and a popular artist at Boise's "Art in the Park." Kellie masterfully composes pieces of jewelry made with gemstone beads and pearls. She's a silver artist and makes glass too.
Amy S of Lebe Loola. A Utahredrock favorite. Scroll down for more on Lebe Loola including some photos that give you an idea of Amy's outstanding work. Amy is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is a well known artist in the East. This is the first time her work has been shown in Idaho.
Sabra of Need to Bead. Boise's own bead goddess from Boise's best bead shop. Sabra's commitment to her art is palpable when you meet her and see her in action at Need to Bead. She is also an expert instructor and teaches beading classes right here in Boise.
Ron of RSB Designs. From his studio in Park City, Utah, Ron is known throughout the mountain West for his work. He's a regular artist at the prestigious Sun Valley and Park City art festivals. His work is unique, expensive, and worth every dime. In his own words: “My focus when creating handcrafted jewelry is to produce mini sculptures which are whimsical with an edge of humor and discovery. The unpredictable use of traditional materials is a constant in my work. I envision my work adorning the body in everyday life.”
Dennis Brugman. The pieces we have from this veteran artisan are similar to those from Lebe Loola. We have about six malachite pendants mounted in sterling. Dennis does the lapidary work (cuts and polishes the stones) and the silver work. He's an immensely talented man.
Other: We have a variety of other jewelry too, most notably perhaps is the old-stock Indian jewelry dating from the early 1970s. These beautiful pieces were made in New Mexico and all of them feature beautiful varisite from northern Utah (almost Idaho!) a green stone often mistaken for turquoise. Utahredrock has other jewelry we've acquired as well, mostly from artists unknown--however, all of it was handmade by somebody somewhere.
Meteorites at an art/jewelry show? This is our specialty and is unrelated to jewelry though we have had some meteorite jewelry this year. Our extensive collection of rocks from space is a must see and if you're interested in these extraterrestrial gems, this is perhaps your best chance to buy a rock older than anything made by our planet by billions of years. This is natural cosmic art.
Thanks to everyone who visited us at Whiskey Creek