All about the rocks, our "staff", and the Tiger:
I started collecting minerals when I was about 10 years old. We lived on a farm, and the driveway was composed of gravel which had lots of small bits of colorful transparent and translucent material which I thought might be gems. In reality, the gravel had been contaminated with small pieces of glass which had been naturally "tumbled" during processing, but that explanation never occurred to me at the time. My Dad, hoping to get me interested in science, bought me a mineralogy text, and for next few years we spent many weekends collecting with a local club. He even helped me with a high school science project displaying fluorescent minerals under both longwave and shortwave UV - in 1958! If my Dad hadn't nurtured that curiosity about our farm's "gemstone" driveway, I'd probably be collecting coins or stamps - Thanks Dad!!
Over the years my interest in the hobby has waxed and waned, with family, work, and other hobbies pushing collecting into a minor role in my life; however, I never could completely clear rocks out of my head (or my basement!). When I retired from the corporate world, the kids out of the nest, I decided to start collecting again. However, as the collection grew, more and more space was subtracted from that available - hence the need to reduce the pile by a ton or two!
So now I'm combining mineral collecting, photography, and woodworking, trying to enhance and organize my collection (hopefully without digging into any retirement funds!), in an effort to make new friends and spend my free time creatively, productively, and happily.
I've been retired since May 2000, and I've had a lot of fun with this endeavor! Two large lighted display cabinets now house some of my "top-shelf" specimens, at least the ones which fit on a shelf; the remainder of my collection (somewhat over 1000 specimens) will be sold via eBay or this website, or traded with other collectors, as I find the time and energy to do the photography and logistics. I've met many new friends - customers, fellow collectors, and dealers - both in person and on the internet. As far as my free time, I've spent somewhere between 0 and 10 hours per day (the low estimate is mine, the higher one my wife's) with my rocks, camera, computer, and eBay ; I'm not sure how "productive" I've been, but at least it reduces the hobby's costs, and it sure beats "working".....
Those of you who've explored my site in the past know that there used to be a few pictures of my grandchildren here - I've decided that any and all family pictures should probably be located in a more secure spot. The reason: I built this website in late 2000, and the internet was a lot friendlier then than now. Going forward, I'm going to limit this site to pictures of rocks (with the exception of the pictures below)
Finally, to answer an often-asked question: yes, I did own a Tiger - but it was the four-wheeled kind, not four-footed... And I sold it recently - when I had my knee replaced, I found I was no longer able to operate the clutch (not enough room under the steering wheel)! I still needed a toy of course (boys will be boys...), so I bought an old BMW 323i (below). It's actually a better performer than the Tiger (33 years younger!), but more importantly, it has a lot more room for the driver (that would be me) to operate the clutch... And no, I'm not going to change my handle...
Last note (really): If you're looking for the Ran(t)dom Blog page, I've decided to turn it into a collection of essays and remembrances. I'll make access to it "on request only" (use my email link) - frankly. I just decided that leaving it connected so that "web crawlers" or "bad actors" could index it easily was probably a mistake, given the current political climate in our country....
Jim Simpson (firstname.lastname@example.org)