Category Archives:learn something

WILT #28: Boreal Owls are Amazing

I was walking my dog today when I saw about 20 giant ravens in the empty, snowy road ahead. Barely 3 cars a day go up this road so it seemed odd that it could be roadkill. I feet like I saw¬†what their messing with move, so I step up my pace a bit, loosing my dog in the process but she stays near. All the ravens clear off as I get closer and as I approached what was on the ground I noticed that it was a small owl. I was surprised to say the least but, you probably wouldn’t know it. I carefully scooped him up against my chest. He clicked at me and gripped my finger with his talons. He was absolutely sure I was also out to kill him. He had a little blood on his forehead but otherwise seemed unharmed but I hurried him home, after readjusting him to a gloved hand, so I could check him out and see if he needed to go to a raptor center.

I spoke to him softly and pet his head over the course of the walk, calming him down to where he stopped clicking and struggling. I showed my boyfriend and took him into a dark room to see if he could still fly or showed any injuries. He flew around the room once, I grabbed my camera and found a high place to get a shot. He flew around the room again and landed on my head. After that, he flew across the room to a lamp where he let me walk up to him and pet his chest. This made for a couple pretty cute videos. We became friends.

I called a raptor place in Denver to explain the situation, and texted a lady some photos. She called me back and told me he was a Boreal Owl, a rare sight indeed, and that if his wing and tail feathers seemed ok that I could let him go and see what happens. His pupils were the same size, he seemed alert and could fly, so although he was a bit beat up, he would recover. I took a few more photos and we let him go from the front porch where he flew into some trees on the hill below the house.

I miss him.

WILT #27: Victorian Slang We All Should Know

I love victorian slang, in fact this website is named after some victorian slang, it’s not on this list, but it means to fain enthusiasm.
My jewelry shop is called Dabeno Crow (bad crow, bad doctor, bad lookout) and so far I own the terms on Bing search. I decided to study up and see what other words I can use in my daily life!
c = Cant
cd = Cockney Back-slang
cr = Cockney Ryming slang
sh = Shelta or Tinker
r = Romany
b = Boxing slang


 Abbess: Female brothel keeper. A Madame.
Abbot: The  husband, or preferred man of an Abbess.
Alderman: Half-crown
Area: The bellow ground servant’s entrance in the front of many London town-homes. (This was slang that was¬†¬† used by both upper and lower classes).
Area Driving: A method of theft that necessitates sneaking down area steps, and stealing from the lower rooms of a house.


 Bacca-pipes: Whiskers curled in small, close ringlets.
 Barkers (Barking Irons): Guns. Pistols, esp. Revolvers.
 Beak: Magistrate
 Beak-hunting: Poultry stealing
 Bearer up: Person that robs men who have been decoyed by a woman accomplice.
Beef: (1) (v) Raise hue-and-cry.  (2) (n) Thief. (cr) = Hot Beef! = Stop Thief!
Bend: Waistcoat, vest
Betty: A type of lockpick
Billy: Handkerchief (often silk)
Bit Faker: A coiner.  A counterfeiter of coins.
Blackleg: A person who will work, contrary to a strike.  In the Colonies they are called Scabs.
Blag: To steal or snatch, usually a theft, often by smash-and-grab
Blob, on the (Blab): Begging by telling hardluck stories.
Blooming, Bloody¬†(Blasted, etc.):¬† are forms of profanity not heard in polite company (Today they’ve been replaced in prestige with “Fucking”,which is really too bad.)
Blow: Inform.
Blower: Informer.  Also a disrepectful term for a girl.
Bludger:  A violent criminal; one who is apt to use a bludgeon.
Blue Bottle: A policeman
Boat, get the (Boated): To be sentanced to transportation (obs.). To receive a particularly harsh sentence.
Bone, Bene: (Pronounced Bone and Benneh?)  Good or profitable.
Bonnet: A covert assistant to a Sharp
Broad Arrow:¬†The arrow-like markings on a prison convict’s uniform.¬† “Wearing the broad arrow” = In prison.
Broads:¬†Playing cards. Ex. “Spreading the broads” = playing a game of cards)
Broading: Cheating at cards
Broadsman: A card Sharper
Bruiser: A Boxer (b)
Buck Cabbie: A dishonest cab driver
Bug hunting: Robbing, or cheating drunks.  Esp. at night.
Bull: Five shillings
Buor: A woman
Buttoner:¬†A sharper’s assistant who entices dupes.
Buzzing: Stealing, esp. Picking Pockets.


Candle to the devil, To hold a: To be evil
Cant:¬†A present; a free meal or quantity of some article.¬† Also the creole and jargon spoken by thieves and the¬† “surplus population.”
Cant of togs:  A gift of clothing.
Caper: A criminal act, dodge or device.
Cash Carrier:¬†A pimp, ponce or whore’s minder.
Chapel, the: Whitechapel.
Chat:  a Louse (a singular of Lice).
Chaunting: Singing; also informing
Chaunting lay: Street singing (hopefully for money)
Chavy:  Child
Chink:  Money
Chiv, shiv: Knife, razor or sharpened stick (r)
Choker:¬†Clergyman.¬† “Gull a choker”
Christen:¬†To remove identifying marks from, to make like new¬† again.¬† “Christen a watch.”
Church:¬†To remove identifying marks from, to make like new again.¬† “Church a watch.”
Cly faking: To pick a pocket, especially of its handkerchief (for which there was a ready market)
Cockchafer:¬†An especially build treadmill in the ‘Steel
Coiner:  A coin counterfeiter
Cokum (n & adj): Opportunity, advantage, shrewd, cunning.
Cool: Look, look at this/it. (cb)
Coopered: Wornout, useless
Coopered Ken: A bad place for a stick up.
Cop, Copper:  A policeman
Couter:  Pound (money)
Cove:  A man
Crabshells: Shoes
Cracksman: A Burgler, a safecracker.  One who clracks of breaks locks.  A whole genre of thief.
Crapped:  hung, hanged.
Crib: A building, house or lodging.  The location of a gaol.
Crimping shop: A waterfron lodging house, esp. one associated with the forcable impressment of seamen.
Crooked cross, to play the:  To betray, swindle or cheat.
Crow:  A lookout.  A doctor.
Crusher:  A policeman


Dab:¬†bed (cb).¬† “To dab it up with_____” = to engage in carnal acts with ___.
Dabeno: Bad (cb)
Daffy:  A small measure, esp. of spiritous liquers.
Deadlurk: Empty premises.
Deaner:¬†A shilling. (Etymologially descended from the Dinarious, or ancient silver penny of Britain…)
Deb: Bed (cb)
Demander:  One who gains monies through menace.
Derbies: (Pronounced Darbies).  Handcuffed
Device:  Tuppence
Deuce Hog (Duce Hog): 2 shillings
Devil’s claws:¬†The broad arrows on a convict’s prison uniform.
Dewskitch:  A beating
Didikko:¬† Gypsies; half breed gypsies (r). (From Didikai, a¬† Rom contraction of Dik akai, or “look here”)
Dillo: Old (cb)
Dimmick:  A base coin, counterfeit
Ding:¬†(v & n) Throw away, pass on.¬† Any object that has been so treated. Ex. “Knap the ding” or to take something that has been thrown out.
Dipper:  Pickpocket
Dispatches:  Loaded dice
Dobbin: Ribbon
Dollymop: A prostitute, often an amateur or a part-time street girl; a midinette.
Dollyshop:  A low, unlicenced loan shop or pawn shop.
Don: A distinguished/expert/clever person; a leader
Dookin: Palmistry
Down:¬† Suspicion.¬† “To put down on someone” means to inform on that¬† person’s plans.¬† While “To take the down of a ticker”¬† means toChristen a watch.
Do Down: To beat someone badly, punishing them with your fists. (b)
Downer:  Sixpence.
Downy:  Cunning, false.
Drag: (1) A three month gaol sentence.  (2)  A street
Dragsman:  A thief who steals from carriages.
Drum:  A building, house or lodging; the location of a gaol.
Dub: (1) Bad (cb); (2) Key, lockpick
Duce:  Tuppence
Duckett:¬†A street hawker or vendor’s licence.
Duffer:  A seller of supposedly stolen goods.  Also a Cheating Vendor or hawker.
Dumplin:  A swindling game played with skittles
Dumps:  Buttons and other Hawkers small wares.
Dunnage:  Clothes


E.O.:  A fairground gambling game
Escop (Esclop, Eslop): Policeman (cb)


Fadge: Farthing
Fakement:  a Device or pretence (especially a notice or certificate to facilitate begging).
Family, the: The criminal Underworld, also Family People.
Fan:¬† To delicately feel someone’s clothing, while it is still being worn, to search for valuables.
Fancy, the:  The brethren of the boxing ring.
Fawney: Ring
Fawney-dropping: A ruse whereby the villain pretends to find a ring (which is actually worthless) and sells it as a Possibly valuable article at  alow price.
Fine wirer:  A highly skilled pickpocket
Finny: Five pound note
Flag: An apron
Flam:  A lie
Flash¬†(v & adj):¬† Show, Showy (as in “Show-off,” or “Flashy”); smart; something special.
Flash house:  A public house patronized by criminals.
Flash notes:  Paper that looks, at a glance, like bank-notes
Flat:  A person who is flat is easily deceived.
Flatch:¬† Ha’penny
Flats:  Playing cards, syn. Broads.
Flimp:  A snatch pickpocket.  Snatch stealing in a crowd.
Flue Faker: Chimney sweep
Flummut: Dangerous
Fly, on the:  Something done quickly.
Flying the Blue Pidgeon: Stealing roof lead.
Flying the Mags:¬†The game of “Pitch and Toss”
Fogle: A silk handkerchief
Fushme: Five shillings


Gaff:¬†Show, exhibition, fair “Penny Gaff” – Low, or vulgar theatre.
Gallies: Boots
Gammon: Deceive
Gammy: False, undependable, hostile
Garret:  Fob pocket in a waistcoat
Garrote: (v & n) A misplaced piano wire, and how it was misplaced.
Gatter:  Beer
Gattering: A public house
Gegor: Begger
Gen:  Shilling
Glim:¬† (1) Light or fire.¬† (2) Begging by depicting oneself¬† as having been burnt out of one’s home.¬† (3) Venereal Disease.
Glock: Half-wit
Glocky: Half-witted
Gonoph:  A minor thief, or small time criminal
Granny:  Understand or recognize
Gravney:  A Ring
Grey, Gray:  A coin with two identical faces
Griddling: Begging, peddling, or scrounging
Growler:  A four wheeled cab
Gulpy: Gullible, easily duped.


Half inch: Steal (From pinch) (cr)
Hammered for life: Married
Hard up: Tobacco
Haybag: Woman
Haymarket Hector:¬†Pimp, ponce or whore’s minder; especially around the areas of Haymarket and Leicester Squares.
Hoisting:  Shoplifting
Holywater sprinkler: A cudgel spiked with nails.
Huey, Hughey: A town or village.
Huntley,¬† to take the:¬†Syn. To take the Cake or to take the Biscuit.¬† Also to be most excellent, as in Huntley and Palmer’s biscuits.
Hykey:  Pride.


Irons: Guns esp. Pistols or revolvers.


Jack:  Detective
Jemmy:¬†(1) Smart.¬† (2) of Superior class.¬† (3) an housebreaker’s tool.
Jerry:  A Watch
Jerryshop:  Pawnbrokers
Joey: A fourpence piece
Jolly: Disturbance or Fracas
Judy: A woman, specifically a prostitute
Jug loops: Locks of hair brought over the temples and curled (a hairstyle that thankfully died out later in the period).
Julking: Singing (as of caged songbirds)
Jump: A ground floor window, or a burglary committed through  such a window.


Kanurd: Drunk (cb)
Kecks: Trousers
Ken:  House or other place, esp. a lodging or public house.
Kennetseeno:¬† Bad, stinking, putrid — Malodorous. (r)
Kennuck:  Penny
Kidsman:  An organizer of child thieves
Kife: Bed
Kinchen-lay (Kynchen-lay):  Stealing from children
Kingsman:  A coloured or black handkerchief.
Knap: To steal, take or receive
Knapped: Pregnant
Knob:¬† “Over and under” a fairground game used for swindling.
Know life, to: To be knowledgable in criminal ways


Lackin, Lakin: Wife
Ladybird: A Prostitute
Lag: A convict or Ticket-of-leave man; To be sentenced to transportation or penal servitude.
Lamps:  Eyes
Laycock, Miss (or Lady): Female sexual organs
Lavender, in:  (1) To be hidden from the police, (2) to be pawned, (3) to be put away, (4) to be dead.
Lay:  A method, system or plan
Leg :  A dishonest person, a sporting cheat or tout.
Lill: Pocketbook
London Particular:¬†Thick London “Pea Soup” fog
Long-Tailed:¬† A banknote worth more than 5 pounds is said to be “long tailed”
Luggers: Ear rings
Lumber: (1) Unused, or second-hand furniture.  (2) To pawn.  (3) To go into seclusion.  (4) To be in lumber is to be in gaol.
Lump Hotel:  Work House
Lurk: (1) A place of resorting to or concealment in.  (2) A scheme or method
Lurker:¬† A criminal of all work, esp. a begger, or someone who uses a beggar’s disguise.
Lush:  An alcoholic drink.
Lushery:  A place where a lush may be had.  A low public house or drinking den.
Lushing Ken:  See Lushery
Lushington:  A drunkard


Macer:  A cheat
Magflying: Pitch and toss
Magsman:  An inferior cheat
Maltooler: A pickpocket who steals while riding an omnibus, esp. from women.
Mandrake:  a Homosexual
Mark: The victim
Mary Blaine: Railway Train (cr); to meet a train or to travel via railway.
Mauley:  Handwriting, signature
Mecks:  Wine or spirits
Milltag: Shirt
Miltonian: Policeman
Min:  Steal
Mitting:  Shirt
Mizzle: Quit, Steal, or Vanish
Mobsman:¬† A swindler or pickpocket, usually well-dressed.¬† Originally one of the “Swell Mob”
Mollisher:¬†A woman, often a villain’s mistress
Monkery:  the Country
Monniker: Signature
Mot:   Woman, esp. the proprietress of a lodging or public  house
Moucher, Moocher:  A rural vagrant.  A gentleman of the road.
Mouth: (1) Blabber.  (2) A Fool
Mug-hunter:¬†A street robber or footpad.¬†¬† Hence the modern “Mugger”
Mumper:  Begger or scrounger
Mutcher:  A thief who steals from drunks
Muck Snipe:¬† A person who is “down and out”


Nail:  Steal
Nancy: Buttocks
Nebuchadnezzar:¬†Male sexual organs; “to put Nebuchadnezzar out to grass” means to engage in sexual intercourse.
Neddy: Cosh
Nemmo: Woman (cb)
Nethers:  Lodging charges, rent
Newgate Knockers:  Heavily greased side whiskers curling back to, or over the ears
Netherskens: Low lodging houses, flophouses
Nibbed: Arrested
Nickey: Simple in the head
Nobble:  The inflicting of grievious bodily harm
Nobbler:¬†(1) One who inflicts grevious bodily harm.¬† (2) A sharper’s confederate
Nommus!:  Get away! Quick!  (cb)
Nose:  Informer or Spy
Nubbiken:  A sessions courthouse


On the fly:  While in motion or quickly
Onion:  A watch seal
Out of twig: Unrecognized or in disquise
Outsider:  An instrument, resembling needle nosed pliers, used for turning a key in a lock from the wrong side.


Pack:¬† A night’s lodging for the very poor
Paddingken:¬†A tramp’s lodging house
Pall:  Detect
Palmer: Shoplifter
Patterer:¬†Someone who earns by recitation or hawker’s sales talk, esp. by hawking newspapers
Peter: A box, trunk or safe.
Pidgeon: A victim
Pig: A policeman, usually a detective
Pit: Inside front coat pocket
Plant:  A victim
Pogue: A purse or prize
Prad: Horse
Prater:  A bogus itinerate preacher
Prig: (1) A thief.  (2) To steal
Puckering: Speaking in a manner that is incomprehensible to spectators
Punishers:  Superior nobblers.  Men employed to give severe beatings
Push:  Money


Racket:  Illicit occupation or tricks
Rampsman or Ramper: A tearaway or hoodlum
Randy, on the:  On the Spree or otherwise looking for companionship
Rasher-wagon: Frying pan
Ray: 1/6 (one and six-pence)
Reader: Pocketbook or wallet
Ream: Superior, real, genuine, good.
Ream Flash Pull: A significant heist
Ream Swag: Highly valuable stolen articles
Reeb:  Beer (cb)
Roller:  A thief who robs drunks or a prostitute who steals from  her clientele.
Rook: A type of jemmy
Rookery: Slum or ghetto
Rothschild, to come to the: To brag and pretend to be rich.
Rozzers: Policemen
Ruffles: Handcuffs


Saddle: Loaf
St. Peter’s Needle:¬†Severe discipline
Salt Box: The Condemned Cell
Sawney: Bacon
Scaldrum dodge: Begging by means of feigned, or self-inflicted wounds
Scran: Food
Scratch an itch: (cr) Bitch
Screever:  A writer of fake testimonials; a forger
Srew: Skeleton Key
Screwing:  A sub-genre of Cracking; burglary by means of skeleton  keys, waxing keys, or picking locks.
Screwsman:  A burglar versed in screwing
Scroby: Flogging in gaol
Scurf:  An exploitive employer or gang-leader
Servant’s lurk:¬†A lodging or public house used by shady or dismissed servants.
Shake lurk: Begging under the pretence of being a shipwrecked seaman.
Shallow, work the: Begging while half naked.
Shant: A pot or tumbler
Sharp:  A (card) swindler
Shevis:  A shift, a type of garment.
Shinscraper: The Treadmill
Shirkster: A layabout
Shiver and shake:  (cr) A cake
Shivering Jemmy:  A half naked begger
Shoful: (1) Bad or counterfeit.  (2) An hansom cab
Shofulman:  A coiner or passer of bad money.
Skipper: One who sleeps in hedges and outhouses
Skyrocket: (cr) Pocket (rarely used)
Slang cove: A showman
Slap-Bang Job: A night cellar (pub) frequented by thieves, and where no credit is given.
Slum: (1) False, sham, a faked document, etc.  (2) To cheat . (3) To pass bad money.
Smasher:  Someone who passes bad money.
Smatter Hauling: Stealing Handkerchiefs
Snakesman: A slightly built (boy) criminal used in burglary and housebreaking.
Snells:¬†A hawker’s wares
Snide: Counterfeit; counterfeit coins or jewels.
Snide pinching: Passing bad money
Snoozer:  A thief that specializes in robbing hotel rooms with sleeping guests.
Snowing: Stealing linen, clothes, etc, that have been hung out to dry.
Soft:¬†Paper money (i.e., “to do some soft” means to pass bad paper money.)
Speeler: Cheat or a gambler
Spike:  Workhouse
Sprat:  Six pence
Spreading the Broads: Three card monte.
Square rigged: Soberly and respectfully dressed.
Swell: An elegantly, or stylishly dressed gentleman.


Tail: Prostitute
Tatts: Dice, False Dice
Tea Leaf:  Thief (cr)
Terrier Crop:  Short, bristly haircut (denoting a recent stay in a prison or a workhouse)
Teviss:  Shilling
Thicker:  A Sovereign or a Pound
Thick ‘Un:¬† A Sovereign
Tightener:¬† A meal.¬† “To do a Tightener,” to take a Meal.
Titfer/Titfertat:  Hat (cr)
Toff:  An elegantly, or stylishly dressed gentleman.
Toffer:  A superior whore.
Toffken:  A house containing well-to-do occupants.
Toke: Bread
Tol: Lot (cb), a Share.
Toolers: Pickpockets
Tooling:  Skilled Pickpocket
Toper: Road
Topped: Hung
Topping: A hanging
Translators: Secondhand apparel, especially Boots.
Trasseno: An evil person
Tuppeny  (Tuppeny Loaf): Head (cr. from Loaf of Bread)
Twirls: Keys, esp skeleton keys.
Twist (Twist  and Twirl): Girl (cr)


Under and Over:¬†A fairground game that’s easy to swindle people with.


Vamp:¬†To Steal or Pawn.¬† “In for a vamp” to be jailed for stealing
Voker:¬† Speak (r).¬†¬†¬† “Voker Romeny?”¬† (Pardon me, but do you speak Thieve’s Cant?)


Weeping Willow: Pillow (cr)
Whistle and Flute: Suit (cr)
Work Capitol: Commit a crime punishable by death.


Yack:  A watch
Yennap:  A Penny. (cb)

WILT#26: 16 Pennies

Every journey begins with a single step. So, to get to big numbers, you
have to start small. Lay sixteen pennies in a line and you have one foot, stack
them and you have an inch.

  • value – 16¬Ę, (sixteen cents)
  • width (side-by-side) – 12 inches, (one foot)
  • height (stacked) – 1 inch
  • thickness – 0.0625 inches, (1/16 of an inch)
  • weight – 1.6 ounces
  • area (laid flat) – 9 square inches

WILT #25: The Willows was one of Lovecraft’s favorite Horror Novellas

The-Willows-Algernon-Blackwood-Hard15-lgeIf something scared H.P. Lovecraft, you know it’s scary so when I found The Willows on my boyfriend kindle (whether he or I downloaded it months ago, we can’t decide) I read a chapter and looked up more info about the book. I had no idea yet that it was going to get scarier. It seemed like it might just as easily pass for a travel book so far, but after finding out that it H.P. Lovecraft called it one of the best horror stories of its time, I actually took a couple days off to prepare.

The book is by Algernon Blackwood, quite an amazing name, and the story starts with a couple of guys taking a trip via canoe down a flooded Danube river. I took a break to listen to the song Blue Danube because I couldn’t get the name out of my head, and I continued. I’d truly hate to give anything more away about the book. It’s terrifying on a sensory level and describes things in a way that really puts you with the pair in their tale. It’s short, only 3 or 4 chapters I believe, and I read it in just 3 nights before bed.

It’s free for Amazon kindle and cheap as a paperback:

WILT #24: How to Prioritize Tasks

I have organizational issues. Or at least I thought I did….til I read this post on¬† Now, after spending part of today organizing my studio/office/craft room, I will be spending tomorrow making a long list and chopping away at it, prioritizing by importance. Unfortunately I think most of my tasks are too big to finish 9 in a day, unless I really break them down, but I think I can do a lot if I have a plan. Especially if I can pretend someone else made the list for me.

Here it is, 4 actionable steps to prioritize tasks:

Step 1: Spew your todo(s). Write out all the things you have to do. Empty that big grey fella of yours. Get every piece of niggling nonsense out and into one list. Think your done? Think again. What about your goals? What about movies you want to watch? What about birthdays you always forget. Keep blowing your to-do load until you start to feel light headed. That feeling is the weight of a thousand irksome thoughts being lifted from your shoulders and dumped onto a page. Or maybe there’s a gas leak in your building. Either way, we’re done with step 1.

Step 2: File your pile. Nope I’m not dishing out some medieval medical advice here. You’ll need to take a look at this abomination of a list in front of you, and start making smaller lists. Give these smaller lists titles and look to group tasks together under these titles. Then you’ll need to decide what would really make a difference if you managed to get a line through it in the next 24 hours. Siphon these tasks into one list for the day. Try to limit the number to single figures. Working around 9 tasks in a day is like baby bears porridge…just right!

Step 3: Tag your swag. Take a look at your chosen shortlisted tasks. Decide if the task is: 1-a must do today 2- a should do today ( if you get through your 1s) or 3-a could do today (if you manage to get through your 1s and 2s). Tag your 9 tasks with these priorities.

Step 4: Start your art. Your mission should you choose to accept it (and you better feckin accept it after all we‚Äôve come through) is to complete all 9 tasks. Start the day with all your ‚Äėmust dos‚Äô. Once you complete them move onto your ‚Äėshould dos‚Äô and finally your ‚Äėcould dos‚Äô.

And that’s it. That’s the fix.

Once you have your big list split into smaller lists, picking and prioritizing your tasks for the next day should take no more than 5 minutes. Then wake up the next day and get started. Rinse and repeat everyday. You’ll no longer suck at productivity and you’ll never have to apologize again.

Read more and get a guide at

WILT#23: Several Deadly Rocks (…and not because they were thrown)

Well, not necessarily deadly “rocks” per se, more like deadly minerals and metals, but here’s an interesting list that kind of scared the crap out of me. I collect rocks and pick them up willy-nilly all the time. How will I necessarily know something is dangerous? Well, I wouldn’t, until I found this list that is. I’ve been planning to get a rock hounding book but not til I make good use of my several other wildlife and insect books. The last one is the best.!

Deadliest rocks in the world


WILT #22: New Mexico, Friendly People and Money Troubles

We stayed in Alamogordo, in southern New Mexico for couple months this summer, we’ve been around it and through it a few times in our travels, and we’re living pretty close to it again right now in southern Colorado¬†(and have been two years¬†before this). So we knew very well that the state had a disproportionate amount of poverty, but it started to really make me think after three visits this seasons to pick up firewood.¬†I wan’t to make it clear, if possible, that I grew up rather poor with a single mother, and I don’t judge anyone’s economic state, but I do know what it’s like, and I’m really impressed by the general attitude of the people we’ve met over the last couple days.

Last time we picked up wood it was north of Farmington in a¬†rather flat looking, semi arid desert area. Such an odd change of scenery since just a little ways away are mountains and snow in Colorado. We drove about an hour to get to that area from the east side of Durango, fairly early in the morning (for us). The guys met us at an intersection in a little car and had us follow them to their house a couple miles into the wasteland. It was a rather run down mobile home park with junk everywhere, and a full on wood operation going on in our honor. There were dogs of all shapes and sizes roaming around the trailer park,¬†but none of them brave enough to say hello. We were buying 2 cords of wood for $400, and you could tell that much needed by the way they had everyone involved and were so eager to get it to us quick. We helped them stack it in our truck and chatted while the entire family and a group of friends helped, stack, cut, and chainsawed the wood as we went. It wasn’t seasoned in the slightest, at least to our limited knowledge. It seemed like they had clearlybasically cut it down in a rush the previous day, without having much experience. From later pick-ups, we learned that they were probably also abusing their chainsaw terribly, costing themselves another 100$ in chains and sprockets in the long run,¬†since the wood was pine and nearly pink in the middle. The main guy had 4 young boys¬†who helped¬†with various stages of the operation. One was very impressed with our giant truck and especially with our backseat cargo area where we had to put some of the wood to make it all fit so we told him all about the truck as best we could. We paid for the cord and left, them planning to leave soon after with the other.

This was before the snow, so they didn’t have any issues getting up the hill, and luckily we had just finished unloading the first¬†load by ourselves to an¬†area under the porch when they arrived with the second load. They helped us unload into the wood shed and we paid, not especially planning to buy any more unseasoned cords from them again, but happy we’d met them anyway. We stacked the wood under the porch in a criss-cross pattern to help it dry a little faster, put other pieces inside with a fan blowing on them or near the fire. We mostly made it through the first cord by depending on the dry kindling we had from the little bit of wood left at the cabin. By the time we got to the second cord, a month later, it was much dryer and we had less issues, but that brings me to our next New Mexico wood seller experience today where the difference in dry wood has taught us a lot.


To start, Ross had arranged for a guy to bring two cords from New Mexico. He didn’t want us to pick the wood up ourselves for some reason, so we warned him about our road and how he may need chains, and he still agreed. Delivery was put off a couple times due to weather or him being back logged, and our wood pile was finally down to about a week of wood when he was finally on his way. We waited til an hour after he was due to find out he had somehow wrecked his truck by driving it down a 40 foot ravine. He had to dump all the wood he was bringing and with his truck gone, was out of the business. So that was that. Luckily I had about 5 numbers saved from earlier in the season and texted a couple people who were ready within a day to give us half cords. We scheduled a pickup for Friday afternoon and Saturday late morning.

We arrived Friday around 3 to a little “town” east of Farmington, and met a couple on their property. They were amazingly friendly people but their setup was a sight. They had three old trailers in a 3/4 box, doors all facing each other, and a little courtyard in the middle with a fence to close the whole thing in. Two of the three trailers were storage. They had two dogs tied up to dog houses and barking like mad, and a weird makeshift structure of walls and fences where they had geese, goats and another dog. Then… out of the main trailer came two young children, one with the same name as me, also an animal loving blonde who loved to play in dirt. They looked healthy and happy, which is all that matters, and the animals made them happier, which is basically what kept me sane at that age as well, so I didn’t feel bad for them. Their parents were nice and happy people, and we talked about living in a 5th wheel (ours a mobile one) and all the lovely problems that go along with it. So we actually had more in common with them than most people we talk to, however it was still a bit sad to see. For me, mostly because of the animals.


Saturday, which according to this blog hasn’t happened yet, but I’m writing this the next day because honestly I was thrashed after a day of wood business on Friday – we picked up another cord right in Farmington in a subdivision. ¬†At first I thought, “this is an odd place for a wood guy to live” since it at first seemed like a nice neighbourhood with curving streets, even sidewalks, and wood cutting is a dirty, noisy, business. When we arrived at his place we found a very friendly dude in a trapper hat (with the ear flaps) a long sleeve undershirt and sweatpants. He smelled awful and his house was pretty ripped up on the front, but he was yet again a pretty cool guy. He grew up with his father running a glass business in town and had done interesting construction jobs on skyscrapers in Seattle. He told us all about the wood business, chainsaw maintenance, what wood was best for what and even unselfishly told us about all the wood people in Farmington with good wood. He even told us where he gets his wood. I love that we generally make people comfortable enough to give away all their trade secrets and that we can chat with pretty much anyone. I can’t imagine having to interact with people on some uncomfortable awkward level about everything. I save my unfriendly awkwardness for the grocery store. (One on one I’m fine, but put me in a big busy store and I’ll shut down.)

I took Sherlock for a walk while Ross paid and chatted a bit more. I checked out a couple houses, faux adobe things, really basic and they all looked the same. So far all were occupied but with garbage, multiple cars, and no trespassing signs, also strange for an urban subdivision. I crossed the street and went back along the other side when I notices old newspapers in the driveway, then signs in the windows, several of them, all too small to read. Then the next house, the same, next, the same. They had all been foreclosed on. I came back to hear him, coincidentally, talking about his house. He had purchased it for just $20,000 and has slowly been renovating it himself with his construction skills since the house was in rough shape when he bought it. He redid the insulation and drywall, tore up asbestos tiles,, redid fixtures, and the work continues, apparently with the front, which was missing a lot of its adobe.

“More children go hungry in New Mexico than any other state, according to the organization Feeding America. The state is also near the bottom of the list for education.¬†Now, data from the U.S. Census Bureau said the state is number one in poverty. Over the last three years, an average of 21.4 percent of New Mexicans have been living below the poverty line.” ¬†

That number seems low to me, or maybe its just the places we’ve been staying and hanging out. Alamogordo wasn’t much different from Farmington. Trailers on¬†infertile¬†land that look like scrap yards,¬†torn up adobe houses, and old cars. However if you go to Cloudcroft or … no, I don’t know, we’ve been to a lot of places in New Mexico and they all have a higher element of ‘holding shit together by a string’ than a lot of places we’ve been in the country. And that doesn’t make us like it any less appealing to us really. There is so much BLM land in New Mexico, wild horses, awesome wildlife and plants, desert, mountains, Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell..and it’s so cheap. We paid under $300 a month for a spot at an RV park in Alamogordo, including electricity, and apparently you can buy a house for $20k. Plus, they don’t have the bigoted reputation that Arizona has ++!

The only thing that really bothers me about New Mexico is how many people¬†(very general)¬†treat their animals. There are horses standing in dirt fields in all weather with no shade, dogs tied out, dogs wandering free, dogs in backs of trucks, goats stored in 5×5 cages…the list goes on, and I don’t get it. If you don’t want to take care of an animal properly, do not have said animal. Make an attempt to re-home it. And I know the ‘attitude about animals is just different’ for some people, especially when your main concern is getting through the month, but why make the animals pay? I’ll never understand an I think it’s something I couldn’t explain to most of them anyway. “Animals are property, not living beings who require mental stimulation and social interaction” they might think, as would almost any of our elders..somehow New Mexico never got the memo. As friendly as people are, I imagine what they would say if we told them we don’t eat meat, don’t believe in god and would vote for Bernie. Would they say “to each his own” or “well I don’t know about that…” or “that’s a shame”… or just “then fuck off”.. we never really fit in anywhere, but at least in the last 2 days it sort of felt like we could chat with other people, beliefs and lifestyles aside.

*The photo featured is on a property near Las Vegas, New Mexico. A small cabin like structure and some grazing land on the other side of the river, and this homemade bridge, one our truck could never cross, leading to the other side. Innovation indeed. I’ve only seen one other “private bridge” over a river and it was probably insanely expensive to build, paves, with rebar and all. This one, basically a swinging bridge and they likely hold their breath every time they go over it.

WILT #21: Post to Instagram via Your Laptop with Gramblr

I was giddy as a school girl when I found Gramblr today. I manage 3 Instagram accounts and get so tired of coming up with ways to get the images I want to share from my computer or blogs, to my phone, without wasting a ton of time. It keeps me from posting enough and is generally just really tedious to log in and out of different accounts on my phone.

Enter the best thing that ever happened to Instagram: Gramblr. Yes I’ll still have to switch accounts, but with a mere dropdown menu rather than typing in the info every time. I can just upload an image, even SCHEDULE an image whenever I write blogs or have new photos in my shop. It’s a huge help, and it even has all the Instagram filters, cropping and sharing tools after is posts.

They even offer a service to get your post likes from other Gramblr users.

Even if you only have one Instagram account – you might need this!

WILT #20: How to use Multipstep Actions in Photoshop CC

I’ve been using Photoshop for literally decades but never got that much into actions. A SIN. I know… but I never liked or wanted to be a part of over edited photos. I felt like a sell out or a fake, well, I’m over it. Apparently everyone else is too and that’s what sells so. I’m in. However, I have gotten pretty use to using Lightroom Presets but didn’t even know multi step actions worked.

I knew how to push play and make an action happen, I knew how to create an action, but really advanced actions with multiple steps and user interaction throughout are just, better! I downloaded about 6 different ones today and found that many weren’t even compatible with Adobe Creative Cloud. Some of them, don’t even save each edit as a smart layer so you can’t adjust them at all by default. Most were free on – just search for ‘photoshop action’, but be aware for compatibility unless you’re an expert (I’m no expert).

Then I found my dream come true Photoshop actions on – the Wet Plates collection. I about died. Then I looked at the price. HOWEVER! By coincidence I went to snoop around my email while I considered the price and found a 35% off coupon. It doesn’t work anymore – expired, but if you subscribe to their list you WILL get great discount codes from time to time. This is my second purchase from that site and I’m supper happy with them both.

I’m still getting the hang of fine tuning all the layers but these actions are my new favorite toy!

WILT #19: Edgar Allen Poe was a Time Traveler?

Poe has been one of my favorite authors ever since I was a creepy little kid. And though I want to believe in time travel so badly, I’m a natural sceptic. I’ll call this one a ‘lapse below reality’ rather than quickly submit to foolhardy fantasy.¬†

His mysterious death and life full of tragedy have always gotten to me. Wouldn’t he have changed things if he’d had the ability to time travel? He wouldn’t be the first author to predict things, a la Jules Verne, after all.

However, it’s a bit mind blowing. Enjoy!

Nov 04, 2015 Jake at History Buff 

I’m pretty positive that Edgar Allan Poe had (has?) the power to travel through time. Hear me out on this one.

It‚Äôs not just the well-known circumstances of his life‚ÄĒorphaned at birth, father of the mystery novel, master of cryptology, maestro of the macabre. Nor am I referring to the head-scratching details of his death, how he was found in a gutter wearing someone else‚Äôs clothes, babbling incoherently about an unidentified man named ‚ÄúReynolds.‚ÄĚ And I won‚Äôt even get into the confounding reports of a nameless figure who, for seven decades,would show up to Poe‚Äôs gravesite on the early hours of his birthday, dressed in black with a glass of cognac and three roses.

Curious and tragic, yes, but hardly evidence that the acclaimed horror writer could transcend the limits of space and time. No, my time travel theory concerns the author‚Äôs creative output, which you‚Äôll soon see, is so flukishly prophetic as to make my outlandish claim seem plausible‚ÄĒnay, probable!

The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is a loosely linked map of flesh-eating floaters, crunched skull-survivors, and primordial particles. OK, here we go…

Exhibit A: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

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Written in 1837, Poe’s only completed novel details a mutiny on a whaling ship lost at sea. Out of supplies, the men revert to cannibalism, drawing straws to elect a sacrifice. A boy named Richard Parker draws the shortest straw and is subsequently eaten.

Now here’s where it gets weird(er): In 1884, forty-six years later after the novel’s publication, four men would be set adrift following the sinking of their yacht. Shipwrecked and without food, they too would go the survival cannibalism route, electing to kill and eat a 17-year-old cabin boy. The boy’s name: Richard Parker.

The extraordinary parallel went unnoticed for nearly a century, until a widely-circulated letter from a descendant of the real Parker outlined the similarities between the novel‚Äôs scene and the actual event. The letter was selected for publication in The Sunday Times after the journalist Arthur Koestler put out a call for tales of ‚Äústriking coincidence.‚ÄĚ Striking indeed‚Ķ

Exhibit B: ‚ÄúThe Businessman‚ÄĚ

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In 1848, a railroad worker named Phineas Gage suffered a traumatic brain injury after taking an iron spike through the skull. Somehow he survived, though his personality would change drastically. These behavioral changes were closely studied, allowing the medical community to develop the first understanding of the role played by the frontal lobe on social cognition.

Except for Poe, who‚Äôd inexplicably understood the profound personality changes caused by frontal lobe syndrome for nearly a decade. ¬†In 1840, he penned a characteristically gruesome story called ‚ÄúThe Businessman‚Ä̬†about an unnamed narrator who suffers a traumatic head injury as a young boy, leading to a life of obsessive regularity and violent, sociopathic outbursts.

Poe‚Äôs grasp of frontal lobe syndrome is so precise that neurologist Eric Altshuler writes, ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a dozen symptoms and he knows every single one‚ĶThere‚Äôs everything in that story, we‚Äôve hardly learned anything more.‚ÄĚ Altshuler, who, to reiterate, is a medically-licensed neurologist and not at all a crackpot, goes on to say, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs so exact that it‚Äôs just weird, it‚Äôs like he had a time machine.‚ÄĚ

Exhibit C: Eureka

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Still unconvinced? What if I told you that Poe predicted the origins of the universe eighty years before modern science would begin to formulate the Big Bang theory? Surely, an amateur stargazer with no formal training in cosmology could not accurately describe the machinery of the universe, rejecting widely-held inaccuracies while solving a theoretical paradox that had bewildered astronomers since Kepler. Except that’s exactly what he happened.

The prophetic vision came in the form of Eureka, a 150-page prose poem critically panned for its complexity and regarded by many as the work of a madman. Written in the final year of the author‚Äôs life, Eureka describes an expanding universe that began in ‚Äúone instantaneous flash‚ÄĚ derived from a single ‚Äúprimordial particle.‚ÄĚ

Poe goes on to put forth the first legitimate solution Olber‚Äôs paradox‚ÄĒthe question of why, given the vast number of stars in the universe, the night sky is dark‚ÄĒby explaining that light from the expanding universe had not yet reached our solar system. When Edward Robert Harrison published Darkness at Night in 1987, he creditedEureka as having anticipated his findings.

In an interview with Nautilus, Italian astronomer Alberto Cappi speaks of Poe‚Äôs prescience, admitting, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs surprising that Poe arrived at his dynamically evolving universe, because there was no observational or theoretical evidence suggesting such a possibility. No astronomer in Poe‚Äôs day could imagine a non-static universe.‚ÄĚ

But what if Poe wasn‚Äôt of a day at all, but of of all the days? What if his written prophecies‚ÄĒon the cannibalistic demise of Richard Parker, the symptoms of frontal lobe syndrome, and the Big Bang‚ÄĒwere merely reportage from his journey through the extratemporal continuum?

Surely¬†I sound like a tin-foil capped loon, but maybe,¬†maybe,¬†there are many more prophecies scattered throughout the author‚Äôs¬†work, a possibility made all the more likely by the fact that, as The New York Times notes, ‚ÄúPoe was so undervalued for so long, there is not a lot of Poe-related material around.‚ÄĚ

I’ll leave you with this quote, taken from a letter that Poe wrote to James Russell Lowell in 1844, in which he apologizes for his absence and slothfulness:

I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active ‚ÄĒ not more happy ‚ÄĒ nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary ‚ÄĒ and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain ‚ÄĒ that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future ‚ÄĒ that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves ‚ÄĒ nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass‚ĶYou speak of ‚Äúan estimate of my life‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ and, from what I have already said, you will see that I have none to give. I have been too deeply conscious of the mutability and evanescence of temporal things, to give any continuous effort to anything ‚ÄĒ to be consistent in anything. My life has been whim ‚ÄĒ impulse ‚ÄĒ passion ‚ÄĒ a longing for solitude ‚ÄĒ a scorn of all things present, in an earnest desire for the future.

WILT #18: One step closer to a photo box, most of day wasted

This is not a tutorial, do not do what I’ve done.

I have 2 etsy shops, my photography one and a jewelry and antiques one, (soon to be a place with weird old timey photoshop nightmares as well), and my least favorite part about the jewelry shop is taking the photos. Now, as a photographer you would think I would be a natural at product photography but aside from not having a “proper setup” I just despise it…

I’ve watched a few tutorials, read blogs, but none of them help. They make it look SOOO easy, but it’s not for me, my situation or my emotional well being.


  • Mangling my body into weird positions to get shots or look through the viewfinder
  • Lighting and weird shadows on the backdrop
  • Coming up with a good backdrop or props (I finally settled on old dictionary paper)
  • I can’t see well enough to use manual focus
  • Auto focus is inaccurate at best
  • I’m using f2.8 because I don’t know where my remote is
  • Cat hair on everything
  • My tripod (when I can even use it) does not stay still in one direction or another, or I bump it and the next shot will be different from the first.
  • Camera battery starts dying
  • My back and neck hurt a lot by now…

Today was 90% disaster, but by the last 2 necklaces or so, I finally got a ‘sort of’ system down…at least I wasn’t laying on the floor anymore with my neck cricked sideways (trying to use natural light). The natural light was really just giving me too harsh of shadows and I don’t have anything to use as a bounce/reflector, aside from the white paper I put in the box I’m using, so I had to go with my ikea lamp and ambient light. The white paper is surprisingly useless as far as bouncing the light I have, I had better luck with the light directly on the jewelry. It did reflect off the walls of the box so the shadow wasn’t as harsh, but that’s what I got… (one reason I don’t own the right supplies and don’t want to buy anything is because we live in an RV most of the year and don’t have room for even more craft supplies). Either this is going to work, or I’m going to explode. Those are the terms.

By the time I decide that sunlight is not helping, it’s been a couple hours of struggle. I finally put the box up on a table and come up with some wacky configurations, most of the time trying not to block the ambient light from the window with my camera – where I get a looming shadow next to the jewelry .. nice… I try using my phone light to counteract the shadows but it barely does a thing. Time to get the tripod, despite having to literally adjust it for every single shot because it’s junk – it’s better than trying to hide from my own shadow.


Luckily my Ikea lamp has a snake neck so I can pull the box to the edge of the table and put the light on top, curving it around into the box. Then, I shove the camera as far into the box as the tripod will allow and yet still, the struggle with the autofocus is REAL. My camera is about 7 years old now and dying a slow painful death. I can’t zoom in on thumbnails 50% of the time to make sure their in focus and autofocus seems to be very ADD.

In the situation where I finally came to my senses, I’m doing a few necklaces, which I decide to hang from the top of the box so they’re suspended in air, because chains always look terrible piled up in a ball or wiggly mess. You can see from this photo, that I now have to contend with the light and camera to get in there and change necklaces, therefore moving the camera and the next shot not looking the same. This may never work very well. I may ¬†have to go buy shit, which I hate doing.



The photos came out “ok” but not good enough. I need to find my remote and redo the inside of the box so it looks like a set and not a disaster area. Today was admittedly more of an experiment day than anything, but it would have been nice to also just “get lucky” and have all the time and photos I wasted be usable. I did however learn things..

In this pic, the focus looks muddy, my camera sucks – things only seem to look sharp at f16 anymore, you can’t even tell that shit in the background is antique dictionary paper, the focus is tooooo narrow… and meh. I fell pretty discouraged..especially since besides all the schooling I feel like 80% of my photography is chance anyway… composition and technical knowledge, that’s all I got. Is that enough? I dunno anymore.


WILT #17: Some ski vocabulary

I had to write a blog today for our recent ski trip so I decided not to sound like a cad and look up some terms! I didn’t use many of them because we’re only on green runs, but at least I won’t be clueless in the future – and THAT is what learning is all about.

Full terms here:

Skiing Vocabulary list

word example sentence meaning
aerial In the aerial competition, the skier does flips in the air. freestyle ski jumping that involves flipping in the air
Alpine The Alpine events will take place on the local mountain ranges. downhill ski events
biathlon Target shooting is an important component of the biathlon event. a ski race that involves cross-country skiing and shooting at targets
binding If your binding breaks, your boot will fall off your ski. holds the ski boot onto the ski
combined The combined events require both types of skills. a competition that mixes two events
freestyle Aerials and moguls are the two main types of freestyle event. acrobatics on skis (also a type of “cross-country”)
gates When the gates are placed closer together it is difficult to gain speed. two sets of poles that skiers must go through in certain events
goggles Goggles protect your eyes from wind and ice. eye protection for skiers
hot-dogging Doing stunts on skis is sometimes called hot-dogging. another word for flipping in the air on skis
incline When a hill has a steep incline the skier goes faster. the angle of a slope
IOC The IOC decides which new sports will be introduced each year. International Olympic Committee
loop Skiers have to do an extra loop if they receive a penalty. a circular track
moguls Skiers with bad knees should avoid trails with moguls. snow bumps that are groomed into a ski run for a freestyle challenge
Nordic The Nordic skiers train for long-distance races. cross-country
peaks Gondolas and lifts take skiers to the mountain peaks. mountain tops and cliffs
penalty Adding seconds to a racer’s score is one form of penalty. a time or score punishment for making an error or breaking a rule
relay The fastest member of the relay team will do the last section of the race. an event where members of a team take turns to complete a race or task
rifle The biathlon skier wears a rifle close to his body. a gun with a long barrel
sharp (turns) It is difficult to go fast on a course with many sharp turns. very tight (not wide)
slalom The slalom event requires amazing precision. a downhill event with sharp turns
slopes Cross-country skiers gain speed when they reach sections with slopes. downgrade sections on a piece of terrain; hills
stride The kick and glide is a type of ski stride. one step or pace on skis
target If he misses another target, he won’t win the race. the object you are aiming for
terrain The steep and icy terrain is for advanced skiers only. ground that you pass over