Uncategorized Writing by others

Sotheby’s Always Wonderful Website

“The grandeur of the Orientalist realm – North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia – mesmerized a coterie of intrepid 19th-century European artists and, a century later, it had the same effect on half of Hollywood. It is apt then that the Najd Collection of Orientalist paintings , to be offered at Sotheby’s this October, contains canvases that could light up an Odeon.”

So begins Christian House’s short, informative, and beautifully illustrated post “Cinematic Canvases Fit for the Silver Screen.” The link is here:

I subscribe to Sotheby’s e-mail list and I look forward to getting every week, even though I can’t often spend the time on it that it deserves.

Soetheby’s website is a vast, virtual treasure trove of still photos and videos, highlighting everything from art to jewelry to watches, anything fine and collectible, all marvelously described. Here’s a topic list from this week’s newsletter:

Basquiat Captures the Urban Chaos of 1980s New York

Ansel Adams Landscapes, Diane Arbus Portraits & More Classic Photographs

Cinematic Canvases Highlight the Grandeur of the Middle East

Ruscha’s Film-Noir Hymn to Hollywood

Contemporary Art
Three Decades of Warhol, Plus Archival Photos of the Factory, the Epicenter of Cool


Hong Kong Auctions
An Immersive Work Reveals Zao Wou-Ki’s Quest Towards Self-Discovery


Contemporary Art
The Mesmerizing Visual Language of Piero Manzoni’s Monochromes


Anna Hu’s Music-Inspired Jewels Conduct a Symphony of Color

Again, I can’t spend the time I would like at this site but I am glad it is there and I congratulate them on a job well done.

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley


books editing writing organizing writing rocks and lapidary Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

From My Book: Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest

November 7, 2019

The latest version of this file will always be at my rockhounding site:

Here’s the latest version of my Places to Visit or Collect in the Southwest:






I do have a mobi or Kindle format for mobile but it is hosted at my rockhounding site, this personal blog website can’t host that kind of file:





These are places I visited or were recommended to me while traveling in the Southwest for my book. I mostly visited rock related places and ground open to collecting.

Weather wise, October may be the best time to travel the Southwest, followed by May.

It is impractical to visit every place you want to go because day after day you will find certain stores, mines, and museums closed.

Traveling Monday through Thursday is especially tough, my advice is to prospect or collect on those days and then try to visit businesses and museums closer to the weekend.

You will have to return to the Southwest to visit places closed on your first travel. I envy you.

Support Me at Patreon


Table of Contents

State Chapters

California (Southern)
Colorado (Southern)
Nevada (Southern)
New Mexico
Utah (Southern)

Map Stores

Desert Map and Aerial Photo – Palm Desert, CA
Wide World Maps & MORE! – Phoenix, Az (Central)
Wide World Maps & MORE! – Phoenix, Az (North)
Most BLM and USFS district offices sell local maps of areas they manage

Surveying Stores

Colton Surveying Instruments – Colton, CA

Rock, Gift, and Prospecting Shops by State


Sunshine Gallery and Gifts – St. David
Meteor Crater Gift Shop – Outside of Winslow
Rock-a-Buy – Duncan
Jim and Ellen’s Rock Shop – Cottonwood
The Gold Lady – Golden Valley / Kingman
The Miners Depot – Quartzsite
More shops in this file further on, to be hyperlinked soon . . .

California (Southern)

The Collector – Fallbrook
Desert Discoveries Rock Shop – Boron
Diamond Pacific – Barstow
Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society – Fallbrook
Minerals Unlimited – Ridgecrest
More shops in the text, working on hyperlinking . . . .

Colorado (Southern)

San Juan Gems – Cortez

Nevada (Southern)

Cactus Joes Nursery, Las Vegas
Rupprecht Estate Rock Yard – Las Vegas
Jewelry and Mineral of Las Vegas

Hidden Treasures Trading Company, Goldfield
Vanderford’s Gold Strike, Goldfield
Rock Chuck – Schurz

More shops in the text, working on hyperlinking . . .

New Mexico

Mama’s Minerals – Albuquerque
Mama’s Minerals – Santa Fe
New Mexico’s Mineral Museum and Gift Shop – Socorro
More shops in this file further on, to be hyperlinked soon . . .

Fee Digs, Tours, and Appointment Necessary Visiting
Courtland Ghost Town -Tours – Dig – Pearce, AZ
Gemfield Gem Claims – Dig – Goldfield, NV
Florence Mine – Tour – Goldfield, NV
El Dorado Canyon Mine Tours – Tour – Nelson, NV
Peridot Dreams – Tour or Surface Collect, San Carlos, AZ
Himalaya Mine – Screen Wash – Lake Isabella, CA
Oceanview Mine/Pala Chief – Dig – Wash Screen -Pala, CA
Ernst Quarries/Shark Tooth Hill – Dig – Bakersfield, CA
Questa Fire Agate Mine – Dig – Oatman, AZ
Blanchard – Desert Rose – Dig – Bingham, NM
Kelly Mine – Dig – Magdalena, NM
Prospecting or local rock and gem club membership often provide access to private fee digs


Many museums listed in the text, working on hyperlinking . . .


Many clubs listed in the text, working on hyperlinking. . . .

Organizations I Financially Support (external links):
Fluorescent Mineral Society:

Clubs I Belong To (external links)

Southern Utah Rock Club:
Southern Nevada Gem and Mineral Society:
Nye Gold Seekers:

Businesses I Regularly Use and Endorse (external links)

Geological Specimen Supply:
Minerals Unlimited:

Arizona (and one exception in Utah) [back to top]

James Mitchell’s Gem Trails of Arizona is dated but essential.

Anyone traveling extensively off-pavement in Arizona should get an Arizona State Trust Land Permit. $15.00 for individuals. Rockhounding on Arizona State Trust Land is prohibited but stopping at any point on these lands constitutes a “use” and that use demands a permit. Determining where these properties exists while driving is nigh impossible, most are managed grazing land outside of small towns or settlements. Rather than guess, it may be easier just to get a permit.

Washington County (Utah)

BLM Arizona Strip Office
345 E Riverside Dr.
St. George, UT 84790

37°04.986′ N 113°34.611′ W

This office is physically present in Utah but manages Arizona land. They manage the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, a no collecting area, and the Virgin River Recreation Management Area in northwest Arizona, a noted rockhound area. The office has some nice rock and mineral displays.

On my last visit they requested that I fill out a rockhound permit when I asked about collecting. This form applied to casual use, not commercial operations which demands a permit. No other office has asked me to fill such a thing out and other BLM offices look at the document with curiosity. Many BLM and USFS offices act as their own fiefdom, drawing up practices and procedures to fit their particular area.

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley


Book Dead

“Dear Tom,

I finally got all of the decision-makers in the same room – (same virtual room – via telephone) who would be working on this book.  Unfortunately, the consensus was that we  probably wouldn’t make sufficient money to make the publication of this book a financial success.  And, as you know, we are a for-profit firm which is responsible to a board of directors who demand that we generate a positive return on investment on the books that we publish. . . .”

By way of background, I had a contract to produce a book on rockhounding and prospecting in the Southwest. I completed my MS under word count and before deadline. I had to beak my contract, however, because of the extremely unprofessional and underhanded practices of the publisher. I then sent the MS off to a local publisher.

I was told early on that the book would be expensive to make. The books’ dozens of photographs would be very expensive to publish. Maps, diagrams, and an index would need a graphic artist to produce. All costly, perhaps in the end too costly. The publisher did like my writing but in the end something has to make economic sense.

I’m launching a Patreon page on October 1st, with a great deal of my book over time free to download. No registration or e-mail needed on my free side. The first free file will be 12,000 words on places to visit and collect in the Southwest. I either visited these places or they were recommended to me. Rock shop info, fee/dig reviews, traditional collecting areas, BLM and USFS office locations, all arranged state by state, county by county. And GPS coordinates, too. No photos, though, not yet.

More later.

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing by others

Ken Burns’ New PBS Series on Country Music

Twentieth century American music began and ended with Hank Williams. Apologies to Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley.

I Saw the Light is America’s Amazing Grace. Your Cold, Cold Heart is the best song ever written about unrequited love. It is possibly the _best_ song ever written about love.

PBS is now airing a series on country music produced by famed documentary film maker Ken Burns. Despite narration more fitting the Nuremberg trials, the series shows great promise as a record of a musical and cultural institution unique to America.

The series was extremely fortunate to interview Merle Haggard before his death.

Paul Hemphill recently wrote that, “Country music isn’t really country anymore; it is a hybrid of nearly every form of popular music in America.” Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and groups like Lady Antebellum are now considered, in part, as country. It didn’t used to be that way.

Most country music acts now lack a violin or a fiddle as it is better called, and few have a steel guitar.  Taking those instruments out is like taking out a person’s lung. The patient lives on but true strength and vitality never returns.

Hank lives through his recordings and now in this film, the most painfully honest song writer who ever penned a verse. He sang Gospel as a true believer. He set millions to joyous dancing with a voice and lyrics relatable to everyone. He expressed sorrows we all feel but can’t articulate or won’t admit.

He also wallowed in self-pity and endlessly resented and loved his wife whom he married twice. He let drugs and drink kill him at 29.

Thank you, Hank. And Rest In Peace.

You Win Again

by Hank Williams

The news is out, all over town
That you’ve been seen, a-runnin’ ’round
I know that I should leave, but then
I just can’t go, you win again

This heart of mine, could never see
What everybody knew but me
Just trusting you was my great sin
What can I do, you win again

I’m sorry for your victim now
‘Cause soon his head, like mine will bow
He’ll give his heart, but all in vain
And someday say, you win again

You have no heart, you have no shame
You take true love, and give the blame
I guess that I, should not complain
I love you still, you win again

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Photoshop rocks and lapidary Uncategorized

Pfeiffer Beach Sand, Monterey County, California

I’m trying to learn my microscope. These are single focus shots; as I learn more I will get to know photo stacking which will result in the entire field being in focus. If I do it right. If you enjoy these photos of California sand, there’s pictures of Hawaiian sand at my rockhounding site:

I bought this Pfeiffer beach sand from RC at Geological Specimen Supply:

Here’s what RC says about this sand:

“Sand is derived from whatever material is available. In this case, the probable source of this sand is the Big Sur River. Its watershed contains both garnetiferous schists of the Franciscan Complex and granitic rocks of the Salinian Block, where diorite contains a significant quantity of garnet. Pfeiffer Beach is primarily composed of quartz sand, but in areas the garnet has been concentrated by wave action. This sand is roughly half garnet and half quartz. We could have run it through a concentrator to increase the garnet content, but prefer that students see it as it was found on the beach.”

“A good question for students is, ‘What’s the pink stuff?’ This can lead to a discussion of what makes up sand. It’s unlikely they will have seen sand with garnet in it. It is slightly more dense than the quartz that makes up most of the beach sand in the U.S. The dark grains in this sand are derived from the Franciscan Complex, a chaotic assemblage of rocks that were scraped off the Farallon Plate as it subducted under the North American Plate during the late Mesozoic.”

Note the lone purple grain in the last photo. I’m trying to identify it. These are uncorrected for color, photographed under halogens and a little white LED. The white balance is driving me crazy. The garnet may ranges from ruby red to pink. The clear to white grains are quartz.

What the sand looks like before it is photographed. Just to give you a sense of scale.

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Photography Uncategorized

Self-Portraits With A Camera — Do You Have One?

Rei Aijylle Abenoja Estemera is a high school student who just started a blog focused on photography. Her self-portrait with a camera threw me back more than 40 years.

That photo on her site is here:

Here is her photo, cropped a bit:

Check out her site and encourage her!

And here is a self-portrait I took back when I was about her age. With about as much hair as her. I’m holding my Dad’s original half-frame Olympus Pen F  (internal link). This was probably shot with Tri-X.

Here’s master photographer Lluís Bussé

Here’s professional Lukas Kondraciuk of Through an Open Lens and Lukas Kondraciuk Photography.

Germaine Krull in 1925.
Photo: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI

Here’s Maria Vincent Robinson, “Photographer Of Life and moments”

Here is Sharad V. of Shared V. Photography. Expedition photography and much, much more:

Here’s a new one from photographer Lisa Cavyell who is prominent on Instagram under the handle lisacavyellcapturing60. She covers Inyo County a great deal as well as ranging all across the east slope of the Sierra Nevada and points beyond.

I think this was Koko.

Ever take a self-portrait with your camera? E-mail me that image and I will post it.

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

art editing writing Magazine article non-fiction writing Photography Uncategorized Writing by others

Going Bow-Wow For Bauhaus

It’s the one hundredth anniversary of the Bauhaus School (internal link) and *Wallpaper Magazine continues to be a fine resource for discovering more about this historic event. They review a Berlin Bauhaus exhibit at this URL:

This is just one photograph from *Wallpaper’s excellent post. Please read. And subscribe if you can afford it. I enjoy my print copies but it is a luxury. As you’ll read in their Bauhaus post, however, *Wallpaper produces great writing on the web for free. Their generosity must be complimented.

Exhibition view ‘Original Bauhaus.’ In the background: Ursula Mayer, After Bauhaus Archive: Unknown Student in Marcel Breuer Chair, 2006. Photography: Catrin Schmitt.

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Photography Uncategorized

Las Vegas to Oakland From The Air

Photos taken through a plane window on the way from Oakland to Las Vegas and back. No Photoshop adjustment save for one picture. That adjustment _did_ make the photo look better.

Active Cargill Salt Ponds, San Francisco Bay near Newark.  Elevation of plane, 1,900 feet.

Inactive Cargill salt pond operation across the water from the above ponds. This is near Redwood City, right close to Facebook’s HQ. The Dumbarton Bridge is to the right of the picture. Elevation of the plane is 1,770 feet.

Forest fire in Kings Canyon National Park, California, elevation 36,700 feet.

Mammoth Lakes area, eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, California, elevation 31,000 feet

Amargosa Valley area, Nye County, Nevada, elevation 26,300 feet.

Amargosa Valley farm fields, Nye County, Nevada, elevation unknown. Photoshop corrected. I am thinking of adjusting the rest of the photos. Check back in a week.

Gypsum mine near Blue Diamond, Clark County, Nevada, elevation 11,600 feet.

Mount Charleston Wilderness, Clark County, Nevada, elevation 15,900 feet.

Oil tankers waiting off shore near Alameda, San Francisco Bay, elevation 2,400 feet.

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley


How I Graduated From High School

I graduated high school with the help of a sick, sadistic math teacher I thought an unredeemable cretin. His name was Van Pliet and I assume he is dead now. Good riddance.

We’ve all had terrible teachers as we have all had terrible bosses. Such is life. Teachers, though, hold a special responsibility to treat impressionable students well, lest those young people be permanently damaged, scarred by a social institution they were required to attend.

Although Van Pliet was a base animal, he must have had a stirring of humanity in him which helped me graduate. Perhaps he felt guilty about the way he treated me. Or perhaps it was a blandishment to whatever stone idol he worshipped. Or one good act to keep him from The Pit.

This story calls for some background, and it relates strongly to what I have written about the soulless self-care industry, a trade that flourishes on blaming the individual while picking the patient’s pocket.

A few months ago I read that California politician Gavin Newsom was receiving attention  for admitting that he suffers from dyslexia, first diagnosed when he was five.

A recent interview (external link) went like this, “Newsom is gratified when parents tell him how inspiring it is to their dyslexic children to know he shares their disability and has achieved success, so they can too. The key, he tells students, is to ‘develop discipline, for when you can apply discipline to a problem in life, you can solve any problem.'” Really?

While I applaud him for raising awareness, he oversells his own story as any politician might, promising success if only discipline is applied. That demeans the intense effort that so many people make against their disabilities with no results. For too many people with severe learning disabilities, there is nothing society can do.

Newsom says that he struggles to this day with reading and writing. I can tell you, therefore, that he will never be a successful writer. I am sure that as an editor I would never approve his writing for publication, you can’t continually mix up words and syllables and spelling and hope to be published. Unless someone wrote or edited for him before submission. But that’s not really getting on with one’s disability, is it? Not if someone else is doing your homework.

The discipline he advocates for other people has not overcome the problem he is afflicted with. Instead, he got into college on a partial baseball scholarship; his pathway to a larger world and what he terms success. His condition also seems to have improved by itself, which is indeed hopeful although that does not happen to everyone.

I started falling apart with mathematics in the seventh grade. I could barely do fractions and I am sure I could not do them right now. At the end of eighth grade mathematics, Mr. Estes, a kind teacher, pulled me and another student aside. He explained that he would give us an “A” for effort at the eighth grade level. But he would give us a “scholastic “C” at the seventh grade level. That didn’t matter to me as I was moving on from the  horror show that was Jonas Salk Junior High.

My freshman year in high school math only confirmed my deficiencies in the subject. My Dad tried quite hard to help, he being a math major in college. Yet I couldn’t follow what he was saying. I was then enrolled for many months in The Learning Center, an after-school tutoring facility.

These people were quite nice and the atmosphere of their building was relaxed and comforting, compared to the constantly high threat level of Encina High School. After several months they conducted a series of tests, quite lengthy, and shortly thereafter my tutoring stopped.

I only learned much later from my Dad that I had something called serial disorder, or at least that is what they called it at the time. Among other things, I routinely mixed up numbers, never being able to recall a long number in its right order.  Double checking math problems didn’t work for me since that means reversing a process, errors occurring on both ends. As I read about it now, this condition hosts a whole suite of learning problems with math.

The tutoring must have stopped because their was no fix. Just like dyslexia, “Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured.”

Instead, I was kept back a year in math while in high school. It was humiliating to sit in a freshman class when I was a sophomore. And worse when I was a junior in a sophomore class. Since I had passed fractions in my second year the next step was Algebra. This was taught my a monster named Van Pliet who insisted that I go to the blackboard as everyone else, to solve a problem written on it.

Every time I went to the blackboard I saw a haze of white chalk, completely incomprehensible, visibly swimming in front of me. I’d stand at the board with my chalk, the figures dancing in front of me. I never had a clue. Unable to decipher anything, I would stand for minutes at a time while my junior classmates laughed and made remarks behind my back. Eventually Van Pliet would ask me to sit down. This continued every day or two throughout the entire semester. The only time I got an answer right in his class was when I guessed correctly on a multiple choice test.

The final was handled in a similarly poisonous manner. The day before the exam, Van Pliet came up behind me, put his hand on my shoulder, and told me there was no point in showing up for the test. He said that my final grade would not change despite no matter how well I scored. Even though I was very young, I knew adults shouldn’t treat kids this way. I showed up the next day out of spite for his damned test and of course completely failed it. That obstinance might have saved me.

To my surprise, and I didn’t realize the consequences at the time, Van Pliet gave me a D- for my final grade. That probably explained why my senior year class schedule didn’t require a math class. No more torture. It must have also allowed me to graduate since passing algebra at the time was a prerequisite.

Passing that course at the college level was unthinkable, of course, but at least I got out of that prison and got on to working with my hands, the most open path to those who cannot graduate college. I later learned to develop my writing, which I always tested three to four grades ahead in high school. Never once, though, did they advance me a grade in this subject. That would have helped my confidence, but that institution couldn’t care less.

Again, I will never be a math wizard no matter how hard I try. That door is closed, just as a dyslexic cannot be an Orwell. We all must adapt to our talents and gifts. Gavin Newsome’s pap about applying discipline to solve any problem must be dismissed as the glad-handing that any politician extends at any time to a crowd of his sycophants and to everyone who delights in blaming people for conditions they can’t control. And for people who won’t raise a hand to help. A pox on them all.

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

Drone non-fiction writing Photography rocks and lapidary Uncategorized

Out Rockhounding in The Nopah Range

Went rockhounding Monday an hour’s drive west of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Nopah Range is mostly in Inyo County, California. Extremely scenic, no trees. Bring your own shade. 

A geologist friend of mine remarked on the photo below, “That’s where sand comes from!”

Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley