Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting a head in this world

I have today off work, so what better to do than stand outside in the rain watching the move of the Tiki head from the old Magic Carpet miniature golf collection of custom concrete creatures. The Tiki head was fortunate to find a new home down on 4th ave. It is large, concrete with an internal staircase to the top, and never really meant to be moved, so they had to do a lot of work to weld a support frame of steel beams around it in order to move it.

Here sits the head, already removed from its shoulders. They have added huge steel girders behind and under it, and welded smaller beams together to form a support that can be lifted and reclined. The bull is confused.

more welding to do minutes before loading on the transport

One crane lifted the head and moved it over the trailer. The second crane was then attached to the bottom of the support frame to pull the bottom up and recline the head, facing skyward, and then lower it onto the trailer.

Its always interesting to watch crane operators -- very impressive how accurate and well orchestrated this crew was, this is a custom move and yet you would never know that they hadn't moved hundreds of these heads before. Impressive.

Changing times, memories...

Its sad to see friends move away that you have been around for years.

What's next?

Never seen the sky from this angle before..

Leaving home to see new places and people

This is a video showing the first crane lift to get the head positioned over the trailer.

Kudos to the steel workers, crane operators, police escorts, businesses and everyone involved in saving this piece of Tucson history, well done! I'll try to get a picture of it in its new home when I get a chance.

[Links: ok, I know some of you are getting all the snow you ever wanted and then some... But only our mountains around Tucson have snow, so some of us still appreciate snow pictures (smile). Lynette has posted some great snow pictures from Portland, OR and Kim has posted some great snow pictures from Ohio/Michigan.]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

losing our head on the eastside...

Back in April I posted some pictures of the defunct Magic Carpet Golf sculptures taken during a fundraiser to try to find new homes for some of the unique pieces. I noticed today that they are preparing to move the very large Tiki Head by building a steel frame around it. Last I heard the head was headed down to 4th avenue somewhere... Nice to see it being saved instead of 'dozed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winterhaven House Lights

Here are more pictures I snapped while wandering around Winterhaven Sunday night.

My pictures don't do this house justice -- it was decorated like a big aquarium, very 3D.

Blue plastic over the front of the house, hanging fish around the yard

Santa can't ask for better directions to a chimney

very peaceful

The cast of Family Guy, including "Evil Monkey" in the window

Simple and very nice, I really liked it.

You have no idea how much pressure Santa is under these days...

This dog really decorates his doghouse for the holidays!

A real, full size house, gingerly decorated

This house was decorated like a beach down in Mexico... Santa's dug himself into the sand and is relaxing; the other side of the yard had a very large blue tarp on the ground with fans blowing it so it rippled like water.

I had to try the "artsy" purposeful blurring of Christmas lights shot.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

playing with fire

Snowmen roasting marshmallows. Very clever.

I took a lot of pictures of house lights in Winterhaven tonight and will be posting them between now and Christmas. Winterhaven is a Tucson neighborhood with a long standing tradition of decorating houses for the holidays. Its a very popular area to walk through, or take a ride on a horse drawn wagon.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Mixer downtown tonight

Downtown Parade of Lights
[new to me #65]

sent online opinion to Congresswoman Giffords

One thing that I've been remiss in doing in recent years is contacting my congressional representatives to weigh-in on issues that I care about. My previous contacts were always by letter which took enough effort to only rarely be done.

I've always believed that it can be helpful, certainly isn't harmful, to let elected representatives know how and why we feel a particular way about an issue (always respectfully). Some will listen, some will ignore, but if we don't try then there is nothing for them to hear...

So, last week with the big three auto industry bailout proposal coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives, I decided to let my thoughts be known to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who represents southern Arizona. [Giffords is a Blue Dog Democrat and happens to be the only political candidate to ever have a bumper sticker on my car]. I went to her web site and found an easy to use online form to send her comments. [new to me #64]

If you haven't sent your own congressional representatives notes in the past, I encourage you to check out their Senate or House web sites (easy google search) and drop them a line when something you particularly care about comes up. Its way easier to do than it used to be using letters and stamps.

Too often we vote in opposition to one another based on only a few issues when we first put someone in office and then silence our voices until the next election. If we all continue to use our voices while they are in office, we may find we get more traction on the many issues that most of us do agree on...

epic chick

Found resting outside the Epic Cafe today at the 4th Avenue Street Fair...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

street art 101

The 101 Loop through Scottsdale has some great street art lining the highway walls -- very large walls with very large art, impressive.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

mandatory photo zone

I happened to pull up behind an Arizona Highway Patrol photo enforcement van Tuesday and thankfully had my camera next to me and was able to snap a photo in short order.

I'm not sure how long I actually had while in the Photo Enforcement zone to comply and take a picture... Of course I also made sure I had a safe film speed for the road conditions, no blurry focus, no red eyes, and certainly no flashing.

Arizona Department of Public Safety now has 42 of these vans snapping pictures and issuing tickets by mail to excessive speeders on state highways. For those of us with digital cameras, and I know this goes against the grain, its probably best to have your ISO speed at 200 or less when snapping a pic in an enforcement zone... Be sure to shutter like the rest of us when you get surprised by one of these zones. *smile*

[I won't get into the pros/cons of these camera enforcement zones, both mobile and fixed location. There are definitely some pluses and minuses.]

Desert Botanical Garden (continued)

A few more snaps of the Chihuly glass at the Desert Botanical Garden...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

desert plants & melted sand

I have Thanksgiving week off from work and decided to combine a trip up to Prescott (to bring my mother down to Tucson for Thanksgiving) with a stop at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. I've been meaning to visit there for some time (new thing #62), but held off for a while so I could visit when the Chihuly blown glass art exhibition was displayed (new thing #63). Click on pics for larger views.

Incredible green glass agaves next to real agaves!

Columnar blown glass intermixed with columnar cacti

reminds me of a bunch of Night Herons, well... at night

Very nice gardens and plant specimens

I think I saw this creature on an original Star Trek episode?

Very peaceful blue agave setting

Great ball of glass plates

Gives new meaning to the expression Float Your Boat? That's a 14-16 ft boat by the way...

a nice mix of glass and plants

I'm guessing the cacti grow toward the sun and the glass is reaching for the moon...

Most of the glass art is illuminated by small spotlights at night with one very large exception pictured above. This piece is call the Saffron Tower and is 27 ft tall, made out of a bunch of yellow neon tubes. This thing was BRIGHT.

This is the ball featured in my night shot at the start of this sequence. Boy, this looks fragile. According to one of the staff, the glass exhibits showed up in three semi-trucks and each individual blown glass piece had to be painstakingly assembled into the big art pieces such as the one pictured.

This display of Chihuly intricate blown glass art works placed among desert plants is really something to see -- I recommend seeing it if you find yourself in the Phoenix area!

The Chihuly glass will be at the Desert Botanical Garden from November 22nd, 2008 through May 31, 2009. Reservations are recommended. There are three different entry periods per day: 8-12, 12-4, and 4-8. I recommend the 4-8 period which lets you see a mixture of daylight and nighttime settings. The plants by themselves are very cool. The blown glass art work by itself is cool. Together they are are outstanding. [My pics are just a sampling, there is a lot to see -- plants and melted sand.]