Thursday, December 28, 2023


Back in the late 70s I read an article about a man living a minimalist life. Not off in some ashram (or van) in the wilderness, but right there in Los Angeles, surrounded by conspicuous consumers flouting their material accumulation.

Fresh out of college, I was living a minimalist life too, but not as a choice. I didn’t have much money, not much more than my clothes, some dishes and a handful of books. I was renting a furnished apartment because I didn’t own a bed or chair. I was hoping to afford a radio soon. Maybe a TV. That’s why I was working, right? To be able to buy stuff that would make life more comfortable, that would make me feel successful. 

But here was this guy wanting less. Wanting things simpler. He seemed crazy.

What stuck in my mind all these years was his bedroom. It was simply a mattress in the middle of the room. No other furnishings or decorations. Not even anything in the closet. A bed room. “It’s where I sleep. What more do I need when I’m unconscious?”

So here I am all these years later living a minimalist life. I don’t have the luxury of a dedicated bed room, though. Everything is in one space. And that’s fine. Not crazy at all.

Friday, December 22, 2023


I had sensed the humidity building — the type of humidity that made me flee the South and made me grumpy when I’d visit the Pacific Northwest. My washcloth wouldn’t dry. My hands felt clammy. I checked the forecast. Yup, rain on the way. One of this season’s El Nińo storms. It started during the night and continued through the afternoon, with occasional thunder.

Of course, I got wondering about the ground conditions in this patch of desert. It’s hard packed gritty sand/dirt. No layer of “desert pavement” stones, but firm enough that tire tracks barely show — when dry. Around noon it looked like most of the water was soaking in. How much water could this ground hold before becoming a problem? By about 2:00 there was standing water outside the van approximately an inch deep. It didn’t seem any deeper an hour later, but it looked like I was in the middle of a lake.

Then the sun came out and there was a double rainbow. And I had better light to asses my situation. Not that bad. Maybe not bad at all. 

It has been a couple of hours since the photo above and water is no longer standing around the Rolling Steel Tent. It’s only visible in the lower areas. Anyway, I don’t need to go anywhere for a few days, so I can let the area dry out more.  In my home for the holidays.

UPDATE: At 9:00 PM I went out with a flashlight and didn’t see any standing water near me.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

New tires

I got a lot of good wear and general happiness out of the Cooper Discoverer AT3 LT tires I’ve had the past few years. So, when the tread got thinner than the space between the edge of a penny and Lincoln’s hair, I went into Discount Tire and had a new set installed.

One reason I buy Cooper tires is they’re made in the United States. So, yay for jobs for American workers. And though the company was acquired by Goodyear a couple of years ago, Goodyear is the last American tire company not owned by a foreign corporation.

I buy from Discount Tire when I can because they’ve always had fair prices and I’ve never needed to have the tires rebalanced, unlike another place I used once upon a time.

These tires will do more sitting than rolling until other parts of the country warm up.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

What’s the date?

You can tell it’s not yet high season in Quartzsite not only because you can easily find a parking spot at the Tyson Wash vendor tents, and because there are available washers at the laundromat. Even if you hadn’t experienced the lack of congestion “downtown” you’d know it’s still shoulder season because cellular bandwidth isn’t clogged. Hurray for data usage!

Saturday, December 2, 2023

The stuff

I was going through my old photos files and came across a batch from when I was a homeowner. I loved that stainless steel medical cabinet from Los Angeles, the raku pots from North Carolina, the carved creature from Mexico, the photo I took of the Louvre, the octagonal mirror from Utah, the barber shop sign from Nigeria (the sliver of a face in the bottom left corner), the painting I did of the woman, the other paintings, the leather club chair… But I was ready to let those things and so much else go so I could live the life I have now. It was someone else’s turn to love my stuff.