About me

Hi, I’m Michael A, aka, Loco Miguel. My dog thinks I’m crazy because of my fossil collecting. My cat, on the other hand, is entirely ambivalent. My dog is not really fair in her assessment, since she is a prime beneficiary of my fossil collecting trips. The dog, like me, gets bored with the southern California weather, and we head out to less comfortable climes. The cat is apparently not so ambivalent about the fossil collecting trips, as evidenced by his ticked-off behavior when we return. I also go to the Tucson Fossil Show most years (and sometimes the Denver Fossil Show), and meet up with a couple friends, Ralph and Steve, where I am free to express my entirely unhealthy interest in fossils without having to endure the side glances of my dog. I was a Wikipedian for some years, but gave up when the academicians took over; egad, they have no sense of humor. What’s this website about? Not sure yet, even though I’ve been slowly building it for many years. Life and the dog and the cat get in the way. I hope you find something interesting. Whatever you find is IMHO, and we all know what opinions are like.

Confessions of an old fossil collector:

I’ve got to register a complaint. The geek that thought up the name “hyper text markup language” has propagated a huge joke on human kind. I propose the translation of this silly acronym be changed to “hyper tension make language”. And another thing, how come it takes 10 pages of programming to produce one web page? I thank the people at Macromedia for Dreamweaver, as well as the author of the book for the complete idiot to use it.

I dumped my given name as a teenager because it was after a saint. I was not Catholic (or any other persuasion), and it seemed to me that the Catholic Church and school were pretty mean to some of my best friends. In my twenties I loved to travel with friends south of the border (actually south of Ensenada, Baja, California). We would go as a group on our motorcycles to a lovely lava coastline with blowholes and tide pools with prodigious echinoderms, and partake of grilled arthropods and quanta cervesa. We would similarly take extended tours filling our saddlebags with fossils, and, you guessed it, partaking of una cantidad enorme de cerveza (una quantità enorme di birra). I was a “bad boy”, a connotation now used to describe many a woman’s first husband. Nonetheless, I married (one time and remain so); my wife converted me – tangible proof that people can change people, even if the event is an epidemiological outlier.

Those were the days when you could still collect fossils the old fashion way, by finding them. In fact, since there was no Internet, and very few rock shops, it was about the only way. The world has changed immensely. Collecting fossils has now become as easy as clicking the mouse, (or has it)? My wife has banished my fossils from the house with ocean view to a rear work shed. In retribution, I also moved my computer out there too, and I am bound and determined to build this web site.

This is intended to be a guide to collecting fossils for the complete idiot, including widows and orphans. I have a strong proclivity to protect widows, orphans and the naïve, so this site is dedicated to them.

Hunting Fossils (the old fashioned way)

Those good old days that you could travel across America and collect fossils at a myriad of locations are long, long gone. There are a number of reasons for this, most notably:

1) There are a lot more people in the U.S., and consequently less open land.
2) Urban sprawl, usurping land; many prominent sites are now covered with shopping centers or track homes.
3) Crime; there is more crime in America, and thus individuals are less likely to let collectors on their private property.
4) Litigation; Working quarries, due to insurance issues and liabilities, usually will no longer grant access to collectors. The litigious times we live in also makes it less likely that private landowners will grant permission for collectors to access their property.

Days of easy collecting in the field are gone, but for the dedicated, willing to spend the time and persevere, there is hope.

I am building this site as a creative outlet, to hone my sardonic wit and use of metaphor for teaching. The best thing about the Internet is you can get published without an editor's vetting. The worst thing is that you’ve got to learn computers.

My many plans for the site will be revealed in time – right now I’m still learning. One goal is to provide a state-by-state guide for collecting fossils, and to provide information about rock hound/fossil clubs/fossil shows. If anyone wants to help me, e-mail me at:

Respectfully, Michael A [pha * co * pida] * [ at ] * [att] * [dot] * [net], where you will need to remove the obvious crawler spoiler characters.

Fortunately, as of the summer of 2014, my niece has come of age to be bribed with cash and fossils to help me make more demonstrable progress, before going off to college.

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