Cereus repandus – "Peruvian Apple Cactus" – Dragon Fruit Look Alike

Cereus repandus – The “Peruvian Apple Cactus” – Dragon Fruit Look Alike

**insert alley picture**

A somewhat normal looking cactus with delicious fruit that are very similar to the Dragon Fruit, however the plants are not at all the same. The one Kira found is sitting in the north alley way on 5th street, just west of Euclid in Tucson, Arizona. But what is it? So we search.

Google creates no solution. Change the query, still, nothing. We give up on our internet search and move to asking real people. Curious.

We took our fruit sample and a sketch to the University of Arizona Herbarium (a delightful place) where they gave us some gawked at the remarkable little sample and then provided some friendly tips on which genus’ to have a look at. It was back to the internet and there it was, Cereus repandus – The “Peruvian Apple Cactus.”

Back in the alley way I cut a couple pieces and brought them to my place and put them in a box so I too could enjoy the delicious fruit. Hopefully they’ll take root.

Pressure Cooker Experiment

Chad gets this massive pressure cooker from his dad. It’s dusty and a bit beat up but seems like it’s perfectly good. However, from my expierence and my studies I know that all it takes is one flaw, one fissure, or some metal fatigue and the amount of pressure put on that puppy will end up putting out one serious sized blast that even our adobe walls couldn’t stop.

I’m glad Chad is such a good cook, otherwise we’d never take these kind of risks, but for roast, I’m willing to put it all on the line.

I Got Ahead of Myself

Let me back up a minute.

Where did I start…

Tucson: August 28th, 1 AM

Hotel Congress: Kira, Chad, and I gulp down the last of our drinks and walk across to the train station. I board, stow my gear, and promptly fall asleep. The G/T was stiff, the long island more so.

I’m the last car on the train and the last room on the car. No neighbors. My view is an obstructed 270. Back window and one on each side. We’re still in the desert when I wake. New Mexico I believe. Breakfast soon turns into lunch into dinner into Texas into two more days and San Antonio. I saw the Alamo by street light and enjoy a Lone Star at Alibi. Live music tonight. The train is still there when I get back. I put my self to bed and am rocked to sleep as my car is moved, shuffled, decoupled, shuffled, recoupled, moved, and departs the station. North.

Now my room is at the front, just ahead of the dining car. I see everyone come and go. Its lively.

Texas, again. Texarkana. Little Rock. Its green. St Louis. It’s really green. An arch, a stadium, neighbors move in. Neighbors move out. The people are fascinating. Crazy, kooky, bright, beaten, black and blue. Photographers and artists, fragile folks, at this point a lot of drawls and y’alls, I’s fits right in.

A carpenter and his wife join me for dinner. He’s been to Antarctica, Russia, Cuba, China, and Tennessee. He works with the US Embassy.

A nurse/text book writer and her husband computer engineer/photographer keep me company for several meals. Puns more than I expected. I’m engaged, enthusiastic, enthralled with their company. They’re happy!

Chicago arrives. Everyone off. I’m first class. So is she. So are they. Sleepers, it only costs about $500 to get free crackers and juice and someone to watch your things for an hour.

John Mizell’s Graduation Announcment

Howdy! Buenos Dias!
I would like to inform y’all that after 7 years I will be graduating from the University of Arizona with an Engineering Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Management with a minor in Material Science Engineering. I was surprised as well to hear the news.
I started my career at Arizona pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy and Physics in 2001. In 2005 I explored the degrees of Science Educations as well as Engineering Management. Last spring I officially changed my degree to Engineering Management, which is a hybrid degree combining business and management with systems and an engineering of choice. This past year I have elected to spend my time taking material science engineering courses. This spring I officially added a minor in Material Science Engineering to my degree. Along the way I also enjoyed the opportunity to interact with students throughout campus via my work within the residence halls, through the student government, writing terrible letters to the news paper, and in my work successfully starting four different campus organizations. Perhaps one of those experiences will land me a job.
After commencement in May I will still need to fulfill two requirements for my program. I will conclude a short internship with Rain Bird in June and I will need to complete a second semester chemistry laboratory course before August. My official graduation will be August 14, 2008 (Happy Birthday Mom), at which point I will have accumulated almost 180 units, some good, some bad.
I’d like to thank everyone for supporting me though my long career here and for giving me just enough hell to keep me truckin’. Without y’all I doubt I would have ever found myself close to acquiring my degree, as task which as not been the easiest for me to complete. I have yet to create my plans for beyond August and am highly susceptible to suggestion.
If you’d like to celebrate with me, commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 17, 2008 here in Tucson and I’ll be hosting a BBQ that weekend. You’re welcome to stay in my home here in Tucson, as there is plenty of running water, cool floor tiles, and hammocks, all perfect for napping after long days in 100 degree heat.
Thank You All,
John Patrick Mizell
2904 E. Adams St.
Tucson, Arizona


… late.

They don’t like it when I’m late.

Late by 5 min, late by 2 min, late by 15 a couple of times.

The tell me they don’t like it when I’m late.

Today they made a deal with me.

“We’ll pay you until 8:30 tonight.”

I took the deal.

I don’t have to work tomorrow.

I need to find a new job.

Has No Relation To Surf

What a run, eh?

First time for me. My car was at work. I had gone out at lunch, adjusted things, made sure none of it was too hot, took my climbing shoes out, put some new carabiners in with my other climbing gear, and checked out my binoculars. It was all there. I went back into work. I didn’t get back out to my car until 6:20. My key didn’t fit very well and it certainly didn’t turn well. Damn it.. did someone put glue in there? no… the metal’s all bent. What’s going on? Wait! Where are all my things? … uh. … awe damn it. … FUCK!

FUCK! I yelled. Spun around twice. Put my hands in the air. On my face. On my hips. I yelled again. Nothing changed. I walked to the front of my car and back to the door. Nonsense came out of my thoughts and spewed from my tongue. Nonsensical profanities. No one was there to hear me. No one was there to console me. No one was there to care. I called 911, perhaps they’d care. I could be angry at them. The dispatcher connected me with TPD. The woman on the other end asked questions and my answers became formal. “Do you have a piece of paper?” “Yes mam.” “No mam.” “Thank You mam.” “I received a case number and would receive a letter in a couple days.” I couldn’t even get a police man to give a damn. I was just out of luck.

The drive home gave me time to reflect on loss. I’ve experienced loss before. Big time loss. This time it was material loss. Really what effect would this have on my life? How would I change as a result? Maybe I won’t. What will be different? Maybe nothing. It’s all just stuff. Some of it I use regularly, some of it annually, some of it hardly ever, or never again. It’s just stuff I told myself.

I got home and called Alysha to perhaps lighten my evening with some happy story. The best I got was a friend dressing up like a banana and eating lots of bananas to get into the mood. Though it was nice she picked up the phone to talk a bit I was still bummin’. There I was at home, without a lot of things I had when I had left at 9 AM. I sat inside for about 4 min before I found sitting at home was only going to allow the bad news to sink. I had to get out. I had to think about something else. Do something I could change, build upon, develop into a positive. My climbing shoes had made it out of my car at lunch because I feared damage in the heat. So I took them with me and drove to the gym to face the bouldering wall.

I had 20 min left in the evening before they closed. I walked straight up stairs and slapped on my shoes. The gym was quiet and only two others were up stairs, working on their own bouldering problem, so the wall was mine to explore. I climbed.

Traditionally climbing things has been a great challenge for me. It was fun, presented problem solving opportunities, and offered an escape – the arrival to a level only the elite and really tall could reach. Climb up and no one can get you. Recently this climbing thing has proven that it’s not so exclusive up there. I was just someplace where most people weren’t, but had they wanted, they could have. I’ve found I’m a runt in the whole scheme of climbing and this is good, I have places to go, I can create goals to accomplish, I can continue working up. So this is what I did Saturday Night. I worked up. 8 PM arrived and the gym closed. I was already 2 miles away driving home. My mind focused on the small cuts across my fingertips and the pockets of flesh that had detached themselves from the layers beneath. I made bets with my self as to when the two layers would again be one, on how many more late night sessions I’d have to make before the pad of my fingers were tough leather, on when I would be master of any route on that wall.

Arrival home to an empty table, devoid of school books reminded me of my recent loss and I sat down with a blank piece of paper and started to write.

I set down my pen. Thoughts whirled about. Emotion pulsed and I purged positive thinking then opened up to it again. I thought about Alysha’s permission to be angry. I took it to heart and then choose not to be. If I can, I don’t have to, and I won’t. I thought of the good. I fell asleep.



It’s Saturday morning, 12:11 AM. I’m still dwelling. I’ve completed my list. I’ve sent it to the police. I’m working with the insurers. My total dollar loss is $5,700. I still don’t understand what that loss means to me. I’m thinking about the binoculars.

Dad bought them for me. They were 10 x 70. They were huge. He thought they were important, a good thing to have. Perfect for any nights where I didn’t want to set up the telescope, or I wanted to look at something with a large angle. I used the just the night before to stare up at Andromeda for about 40 minutes. Then I took a break and did it again. There was value there to me that is lost to other people doing the exact same thing. That’s what gets to me. I still think about the binoculars… and my journal, which I had written in that night. Unfortunatly I wouldn’t get those thoughts back. That’s the real theft and it’s in a dumpster someplace. Mildewing. You can’t sell that to a pawn shop, maybe a publisher, but there is no worth there except to me.

Otherwise the thought of insurance allowed for peace of mind. I don’t have any fear of total loss because of it. It’s just a process.

It’s Saturday now and I was finally able to read some emails and catch up with friends. Perhaps tonight I will rest well and the week will slough off behind me and I will catch up with life as it was, a little short of breath, but healthy and better for it. To smiles and the enjoyment of being.



July 26th – Almost 4 months later.

Today I yet again received a call from Will regarding campus palm trimmings and beat feet over to campus. It took me a while but I found them hidden in the Library walk way, trimming away. They recognized me and were friendly. I parked on the sidewalk and loaded up the Volvo for a second time.. I loaded it up good. This time I’d have fauns left over for sure. With the car loaded, I tied the palms down and asked them where they’d be next and headed home.

Again I got home, took a 15 min break, and went to work in the horrid heat making this things compete.

Today is the the completion date for my palapa. I got the whole thing done to the tip. I don’t know if this really has any importance to you, but in my mind it’s kind of like finally moving out of boxes after you’ve lived in your first house for a while. You kind of remember it as the real date you moved in. I’ve had parties under an incomplete palapa, foosball tournaments, and just random friends check the place out, but I was still living out of boxes. Today I flatned and recycled those brown beasts and they were no more. The palapa was complete, I was done. This is great. Please come and enjoy.

A breif photolog of the last stages of the build:

It’s done! Next we need a little rain and a lot of sun to flatten the new roof down and bake it to a golden brown. Then the next upgrade will be sand and a plaque, perhaps a bottle of champagne.

Two Months produced:

A 14’x14′ square with a 10.5′ high pitched roof, and more than 400 palm leaves covering 3 hammocks, 6 strings of Target brand decor light balls, 16 misters, ___ feet of redwood, 120 pounds of cement, and a couple of comfortable Tucsonans.

Palapa Control to Major Tom

July 21st and 22nd

My car is in the shop so I can’t get the leaves, but I spent all day looking at the palapa. Will came over and we hung in the hammocks wishing it was done. Friday Megan took me to the hardware store and helped me get some things to work on irrigation and frills. I was determined to get some trenches dug and some pipes laid as well as my sprinklers revamped, move the drinking fountain, and really secure the misters to the palapa. I worked all day digging the trench and laid the pipe across the yard easily enough. I also ran water to the north west corner of the palapa where I then brought some copper pipe up the side for the misters and drinking fountain. Bracketing them in with more redwood I’ve created a console of sorts for the palapa. I got about half way done before Megan came back over Friday night and we went to dinner. I left everything as it was so I could return Saturday.

Saturday I filled in all the trenches and finished the plumbing and then proceeded to try and level the grade of the dirt by a couple of inches. All day shoveling the crusty top layer of dirt turned out to be a bit of work and a whole lot of dirt, but now the whole yard is a little more defined by each of the planter brick borders and seems a little cleaner. Now that I’m done with the plumbing, turning the misters on is really quite simple, you just spin a little actuator. And I think it looks really good too. In the picture you can see the mist from above raining down… it’s wonderful.