Coping: A Hobby that Rocks

Yeah.  I know.  “Last thing you need, Ure, is another damn hobby...”

Admittedly, between Elaine and I, we’ve been through a few of them.  Most recently, I’ve been taking a break every forty-minutes and hitting either the treadmill or the weight machine for 10-minutes of “high intensity training” on the theory that I’ll live long.  Been stories out this week about the dangers of sitting

(Continues below)


Still, with by buds off wandering the uplands of Arizona, struck me that they should be scouting turquoise and other decent stones.

While my mind was wandering, I got back to the Light Crown Project I have mentioned.  That’s where we pump the brain with specific light colors (infra/deep red, blue, and green) applied to the trigeminal nerve and “third eye” area.

And that got me to looking at a new book on my reading list which I’d gotten when the Light Crown work started (A Lapidary of Sacred Stones: Their Magical and Medicinal Powers Based on the Earliest Sources) and one thing led to another.

First thing you know, another book jumped out at me: the Revised Lapidary Handbook.

One thing leads to another and the first thing you know, I found that there are lapidary bits for the Dremel tool.  So the $19 Agile-shop 50 Pcs Diamond Tipped Coated Rotary Grinding Head Jewelry Lapidary Burr Grit is now coming our way.

Since the shop is well equipped, we already have some diamond burrs – another $15 well-spent.  Used previously etching out traces on PCB board material (and Vector boards) used in the Light Crown project.

I figure this is enough to get me started at least.  So with “the goods” either on hand (or on the way) it was time to talk to my unindicted co-conspirator.

George, you have the same problem I have – too many hobbies, too many interests, and we don’t have enough time for all of them…

Hmmm…certain truth to that.

When I was cleaning up the shop recent, I found an 85CC motorized bike kit project that I’d picked up on eBay back when.  After the end of the world, my plan was to hook it up on one of the mountain bikes and get some well-condensate from Clarence down the street and be able to go into town where nothing would be available.  Kinda like Houston the past couple of weeks.

Which has what to do with Lapidary?  Oh…yeah…so UNDER the bike to motor-bike conversion, I found that eons back I had picked up a double-barrel rock polishing system, 10-20 pounds of raw gemstones.

Explaining this to Elaine, she mentioned that she had both some uncut as well as some polished stones to work one, too, and yeah…that would be fun.

Except, neither of us has room on the schedule.  We you have 29-acres of land, you don’t own the land.  It owns you.  (We’re still snickering at having a guest room/gym.  There’s plenty of work and weight to be lived around here, so what is the point of a weight machine, again?)

From there, the conversation turned to business.

“Do you think there would be any business for a well-equipped shop like ours if we just, oh, you know: rented some of that cheap square-footage in a strip mall, now that shopping is all being killed by Amazon?”

She regarded my question as ‘fair to partly crazy.’

Lawyers, lawyers, lawyers.  And after insurance, what’s the point?

“Yeah, but think how many elderly people there would be in Phoenix or up in Payson who are retired, but don’t have a big shop.  So they can’t get on a 10 in saw or a big drill press because they have done what we’re talking about — downsizing!  Why, I can see it now: Renaissance Centers where the Industrial Arts are still alive.  Weld-your-own chainmail for the Renaissance Faire and make those new cabinets yourself!  Why, there’s be a line around the block!!!”

No.  Too hot.  Besides, your target market is too old to use half the machines.  How many 80-year old’s are throwing full 3/4-inch sheets of plywood around?  Besides, look at our eyes…You SURE you want those people around power tools?”

Damn.  She’d nailed the business problem dead-to-nuts.  Lawyers, insurance and eyesight around power tools:  Yeah… I knew there was a reason I hadn’t quit by real life to run to Phoenix and open such a place….

The shop won’t really be ready for any lapidary work until the middle of October.  My consigliere and I will be busy with “Old Man Labs” and the hacking space-time project until then.  And, if we do manage to isolate The Ure Effect, well, then filing patents would be my next job.

More likely, though, CERN will rule bosons, Elaine will rule bozos….and the great Balance in the Universe will remain undisturbed.

Until the Dremel bits show up.

Don’t know if I mentioned my friend (‘the major’) is well known in medical circles for his training in subtle energy medicine.  (I skip some details here and there).

One reason we have moderate (egg) sized amethyst crystals around, is that if you place one on each of the cardinal headings around your house (4 of ’em, NESW direction) they tend of keep certain kinds of…oh-oh, off into woo-woo now.

But that’s precisely where the gemstones and “precious stones” stuff hails from.  But this part of the Lapidary of Sacred Stones write-up got me to thinking:

“Drawing from a wealth of ancient Arabic, Greek, Jewish, and European sources–from the observations of Pliny the Elder to extremely rare texts such as the Picatrix and Damigeron’s Virtue of Stones–Claude Lecouteux provides a synthesis of all known lore for more than 800 stones. He includes such common examples as the emerald, which when engraved with the figure of a harpy holding a lamprey in its claws will banish panic and nightmares, and beryl, which when appropriately carved can summon water spirits or win its owner high renown, as well as more exotic stones such as astrios, a stone celebrated by ancient magicians and whose center glows like a star. Lecouteux also examines bezoars–stones formed in animals’ bodies–as well as “magnets” that attract materials other than iron, such as gold, flesh, cotton, or scorpions.”

I had to admit that sounded like pretty cool stuff to tinker with.  Plus, homemade bling that’s one-off instead of dime-store crap, yeah, some Big Dog appeal to that, too.  (Woof!)

I can definitely see how by time we get to the “hot season” in Texas (which is sort of like the cold season in Hell) next summer, how we just might be “rockin'” more than the Kasbah.

Already cruising “lapidary” items on eBay and CL.  Like any new hobby, we begin by looking at equipment, prices, and the specialized lingo.

Until 20-hours ago, I had no idea what “dopping” was.

After watching this video?

Now, I think I could actually do it.  Badly?  Sure.  But that’s like any hobby.  My first few landings weren’t good, and I lost many sailboat races, bit it’s the thrill of the chase that keeps us young.

What’s your next hobby?  I don’t plan to die at rest,  and neither should you.

Write when you get rich, (more coffee?)

27 thoughts on “Coping: A Hobby that Rocks”

  1. The strip malls around here are mostly empty and we are looking to move our martial arts school. Most of them are unfinished and built during the boom pre 2009. When you contact the listing reps and get prices they still want ridiculous money per sq ft. I guess when they get the loan from the bank they say this place will generate x dollar a sq ft and they are not allowed to rent it for less so they sit empty. I was blown away by this.

    • Really Mike, this is one of the indicators we call in economics “capitulation.”
      The reason we are not out of harms way for a return to 2009 real estate prices is that there are still lots of people who are not only in denial, but expect rational business people (like you) to cough up and cover their “holding costs” for the whole time they have been in denial.
      It’s stupid, foe show. But it’s how pipples (sic) are wired *(the anagram of weird).

      • phew.. ridiculous prices.. its like that the world over.. it costs what a couple hundred a square foot.. then it sits empty and even though it is empty there are costs like taxes, utilities etc…. buildings have to be occupied or they degrade.. the living building.. the people breathing the oil off of their hands and bodies it all

    • As long as you don’t rent it at a lesser price, you can maintain the fiction of the pro-forma and dance until the cash runs out or you find another pension plan to buy the fiction.

  2. “ a hobby that rocks…”

    LOL great book..for those that can’t afford to buy the book it is available for download at many libraries and at upper end colleges..

    Oxford actually has a great paper written about gemstones and ancient religions and beliefs.

    I to love to look at pretty rocks and my two newest rock hounds. ( mom and grandma hate doing their clothes because of the pretty rocks in their pockets..) this year we are going to carve some rocks and make jewelry for their moms and dads for christmas so I have had them out scouring for the prettiest rocks they can find.. great hobby..

    water filters.. you know there has been a surge in people buying water structure filters.. where basically water flows through stones.I put a magnetic wave over mine to.. not some tinker toy wave a mans wave.. nn ss configuration at 360 pounds. is it real or isn’t it.. I have done it since before it became an expensive fad.. my mother use to pour water over a funnel with quartz in it for her house plants and she use to talk to them.. they always did good so it was just natural.
    then the question is there something to sacred stones or where did that theory come from.
    we have all heard about quartz holding energy and that around quartz and limestone there are more reports of hauntings and paranormal events.. the theory is quarts and limestone hold energy and and as it is slowly released the same thing around area’s with a high emf field causing people to be more irritable and events negative events.. here is a great old movie that first got me thinking about rocks.. back in the day I was a spelunker and there were things while down in the caverns that really interested me about stones.. .. of course back then people I knew would say it is malarkey yet today we find that..

    data can be recorded within the stone structures. similarly we write an image on silver foil..I think it is frequency..back to harmonics.. like changing the radio or television.. oh there is something send someones picture live around the world by a frequency..

    then the studies of talking to plants or subjecting them to music like rap.. or the classics..

    Maybe.. my mom was right all along.. she was just doing what her mom did and I started to do what she did long long time ago..
    have fun collecting your rocks..

  3. If or when you get to AZ. the only rocks you need to be looking for should be yellow and heavy they may not have the mystical power of crystal but they spend a lot easier!

  4. I wish someone with your skills would open a sort of school so I could learn basic electrical, carpentry skills….wish I would of taken shop back in the day but being female put a stop to that…growing up in the 60’s and 70’s.

    • I couldn’t cut a straight line.. then during the Reagan recession era I got a job. ten hours a week tops full time.. working at a cabinet shop.. it was hard getting the job to.. I would take a lunch and fill out an application every day then sit in the breakroom and eat my lunch and have a few cups of coffee.. the other workers would throw a fit why does he get to take so many breaks.. they hired me to keep me out of the breakroom.. anyway when I started.. I told the supervisors that i wanted to learn every part of the company.. Now.. I am not a plumber.. and I can tell you that to hire a plumber in our area to do any kind of repair work is harder than pulling a lions tooth that isn’t anesthetized around here.. I tried to get all my grand kids to take up the trade then sell maintenance repair contracts for ten bucks a month they would make a killing since you cannot hire a plumber at any cost around here. It is the same thing with appliance repairs here.. Maytag had to send a repair man almost four hundred miles to see about a two dollar gasket and they made two trips . Plumbers will come out for the initial 50.00 assessment what needs to be done then they say.. we are pretty busy it will be a couple days before we can get back.. what they don’t say is what couple days of what week of what month or year.. and I am not the only one this is standard practice for plumbers here.. you can buy new.. you just can’t get someone to repair a problem.. anyway I have been seriously thinking of going to the local trade school and take classes.. its never to late to learn. I know the trade schools around here have evening classes.

  5. I’m still working on learning mandolin and guitar in my spare time. Also chipping away at Spanish. Longer term, I am looking into electronics but need to find the right project that will hold my interest. Lots of Arduino resources keep popping up with novel applications. I’ll probably also try my hand at learning soldering. If things continue to spiral downward, fixing electronics might be a solid skill to have.

  6. 67 and just bought a motorcycle. Haven’t ridden for 50 yrs. having a blast and if I go, I go fast!
    Thinking of joining up with that Fonda fellow and smuggling some Mary Jane to California…….. what, oh, never mind

  7. Hi, George and Elaine,

    Lapidary is a wonderful way to engage in an artist expression through gemstones. I read where you were now interested in pursuing the art of cabochon making. The equipment used in cabochon making and gemstone carving involves addressing the rough gem material to a fixed, motorized arbor, like a Diamond Pacific machine or a Genie machine, with different wheels that vary in diamond grit size. A water drip and a lamp are also needed, plus an optical visor or a jeweler’s loupe. Wear old clothes, a long apron, and eye protection. Elaine may want to wear latex gloves. A respirator may even be needed to carve certain materials.

    My husband uses a Diamond Pacific. He also uses a specialized motorized hand piece for detailed carvings, like reverse intaglio carving and such. You will need be aware that the gem material needs to go from a coarse grinding grit to a finer and finer grit size before the polish stage, because each grinding grit leaves a damage layer that must be removed completely by the next grit. The damage layers are measurable. The dop sticks used are made of wood, brass, or aluminum. Adhesives used: cyno-acrylics, wax, or epoxy.

    Faceting is another expression. I have been a facetor of colored gemstones for over 30 years. I use a faceting machine called a Facetron, but there are many other faceting machines available. Prices vary greatly, depending upon your budget and needs. Much like cameras, it is the user’s skills and not so much the machine, although very spirited discussions may be initiated from this particular subject. Most faceting machines remind me of the old record players we had as kids that played our 78’s recordings, as the faceting machines have a motor, a spindle, and a platen. The head piece, which has a protractor and gear index wheel, will either be fixed on a stand or a separate hand piece. The ones with the separate hand piece resemble the machines traditionally used by diamond cutters.

    If you want to obtain a hand piece for carving, look at dental equipment or jewelers supply catalogs. These will run a lot smoother and will place less torque on your hand and wrist than cheaper brands.

    A lot of information on lapidary is available through books, blogs, and websites. Many cities have their own gem and mineral clubs, and some states have their own faceting guilds. Please visit the club shows, as they may have demonstrations of gem carving and faceting, plus dealers who sell a wide variety of crystals.

    Nancy Attaway

  8. I have a small book on Blavatsky’s inner teachings to her lodge. It includes a chart showing the correspondences in vibration of colors, sound frequencies, gemstones, hierarchy of devas, and so forth. Even the archangels have corresponding colors. And, yes, one can learn practical applications of such.

    George, I recommend a book to you if you are not already aware of it, “Einstein Doesn’t Work Here Anymore” with step-by-step instructions for apparatus to demonstrate the Inert Gas Field Effect. Read this 25 years ago, so, as best I remember, it was experimenting with color for healing too. It is available on Amazon; check out the third customer review.

  9. Surprised there’s not mention of “makerspaces” here. A local “makerspace” says on their website: “We’re a volunteer-run 501c(3) nonprofit organization and our mission is to encourage learning, creativity and collaboration. We do that by providing low-cost and free access to sophisticated tools, offering a wide variety of classes, and by providing opportunities for “makers,” artists and craftspersons of all kinds to meet and learn from each other.”

  10. In Australia they have something called “Men’s Sheds”. Women are generally welcome too. They are essentially well equipped garages such as many Americans have. They largely allow for community and people doing projects with large tools.

    We have a similar thing here with hackerspaces. The monthly fees go largely to insurance. I do know that Albuquerque has at least one. I imagine that Phoenix does too.

    Personally, I pick up new “hobbies” out of necessity. The one I’m about to try is welding cast iron. I have a broken tractor bracket that needs fixing and that will be my first challenge. I’ve never done cast iron before, but I did find some old nickel rods and will see what works.

  11. NEW hobbies?? Now successfully retired, I’m looking forward to rediscovering hobbies I either didn’t have time for while working 12 hours a day or couldn’t afford pre-full-time employment. I’m not adverse to new discoveries (which I know will come in due course), but I’m with Gaye on this one: I want to get back to some of the things I already have resources for now that I have the time to devote to them.

    And you won’t be able to stop with just prettying up your rocks, you know. It’s going to lead you into metallurgy and smithing skills as well. Or, rather, I think that will end up being Elaine’s contribution. She is, after all, the artist of the family. You might want to stock up on some bulk sterling while you’re at it, just so you’re not priced out of the market down the road.

    R.I.P. Larry Klepper, one of the world’s least recognized great artists.

  12. I’ve had a Thumler’s Tumbler since I was 12 (okay, that was my Mom’s, but she let me use it whenever…) It is an interesting hobby, and a reason to own an RV for something other than as a fallback GOOD-vehicle. Gaye (or The History Channel) can apprise you as to the desert Southwest’s offerings (it ain’t just turquoise.) Additionally, I used to gather agate by the bucketful, while walking Wisconsin shorelines along Lake Superior, and petoskey stone (a current fav amongst the gemstone and crystal crowd) can be had for the taking, in and around the Michigan town of the same name. There’s amazing variety in the Black Hills, and when you hit the coasts, (not to be selfish) you can always buff shellfish!

    A gemstone tumbler is also a double-duty tool, something to keep in mind, should you ever decide to take up ammo-reloading…

  13. If you move to Arizona,do not miss the annual rock and gem show in Tucson during January/February. The biggest gem and mineral show in the world,treasures galore. Many people shop a few weeks ,picking up enough material,lapidary supplies and gems,ect. to run a small shop or internet business all year. It is a must visit in Arizona. A very profitable hobby. I go every year looking for the “philosophers stone”.

  14. One of the things that attracted me to your writings so long ago, and why I continue to be a subscriber, is that we think so much alike, and have a lot of the same life experiences. At this point I have to laugh, as my friends accuse me of having WAY too many interests, hobbies, and passions. I was lucky to be able to focus on a career in television, mainly because it was continually challenging, creative, and required learning new things and applying them. It’s probably a good thing that I do not have the financial resources you do in my retirement, or I would have the same accumulation of ‘stuff’ (read: tools) that you do. It’s bad enough with the ham radios and dozens of electronic projects I have boxed and stored for ‘someday when I retire and have the time’. And then there’s home maintenance that always gets in the way, too.

    It’s a sign of a highly intelligent person with a high IQ, I’ve been told. It is also it’s own curse… as I’m sure you know.

    My ultimate invention would be a ‘time compressor’ that would allow me to get all this done to my satisfaction. Then I could find some more new stuff to do! :-)

    • It’s a sign of a highly intelligent person with a high IQ, I’ve been told. It is also it’s own curse… as I’m sure you know.”

      My wife a wise woman tells me with everything I do a day that I must think there’s a hundred hours in a day…lol lol lol

  15. To become a rockhound:
    Take a bag of marbles with you.
    When you see a rock you like, pick it up and replace it with a marble.

    When you’ve lost all your marbles…. you’ve become a rockhound!

    • Yea haaa, I recently refound marbles from the 60’s and my Grandma’s rock collection from the past 70 years. You know value is in the eye of the rock holder right? She painted on many of hers, but she had real talent that’s why they are so treasured.

  16. I haven’t been reading in a while. Decided to open ‘er up, and what are you discussing? Lapidary! Which I decided to take up a few months ago. Apropos, and not coincidental, I’m sure.

    I’ve been really delving into a lot of things lately, and rocks have always been something I was interested in. Glad to see it here.

    I’ve started carving Elder Futhark runes into several different kinds of rocks as a sort of time passer, but have recently found a buyer, which is nice.

    I needed to see this. I am on the right path.

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