Sunday, June 29, 2008

snow chains for a 103 degree day (2/2)

several different interesting doors lead out to very nice grounds with interesting plants and art (I guess even historic buildings require web access these days...)


carved wood planters

also on the grounds, the Mission in the Sun

De Grazia wall murals

The inside of the mission. Those benches will keep you awake. A very cool feature of this room is the long ceiling opening down the center to the outside...

Looking up and out through the center of the ceiling, through a towering cross of cholla wood. This must have been a spectacular night view of the stars back when Tucson had dark night skys.

another inside wall mural

what mission is this roadrunner on?

Another building on site is the little gallery. I really liked this door. If ever there was a door to another realm, this looks like it could be it.

I'm not sure what this is... At first glance it appeared to be nice environmental art, but on closer inspection there are religious figurines on top, and on still closer inspection, there are copper pennys placed on the ledges of all the rocks from top to bottom. A shrine to the copper industry? Or...

So... what a find! Even though I may be the last person in Tucson to discover this place, I was impressed. My pictures just scratched the surface of what there is to see at the Gallery in the Sun, and definitely don't capture the ambiance. So if any of you Tucsonans are looking for a great staycation activity that's free and right in town, check out the Gallery in the Sun, on Swan, north of Sunrise.

I've visited more traditional art galleries in Tucson and in other cities that I liked, but rarely have I seen such a nice integration of art, nature, buildings, history, non-commercialism and sense of place as this. I'm adding it to my "must visit" recommendations for Tucson visitors.

Thanks to Alanna & Tad for posting in their blog about this place and thereby enticing me to get over to it!

#33 snow chains for a 103 degree day (1/2)

A good use for snow chains, in June, in the desert!

I finally visited Ted De Grazia's Gallery in the Sun in the Tucson foothills. wow. wow. I'm impressed. Growing up in Arizona I've been a little familiar with De Grazia's work, in particular his paintings of angels, and news back in the late 70's when he took a hundred of his paintings up to a cave to burn them in protest of inheritance taxes on works of art. But not much more than that...

A while back Tucson blogger's Alanna and Tad described their trip to Gallery in the Sun and their pictures looked like it might be an interesting place to visit. So, as a new thing (#33), I went to visit the Gallery today. Very, very neat art, buildings, and general peaceful ambiance. And completely free! I asked a woman in the gift shop how they were funded, and she said they basically operate off interest of De Grazia's past art sales. So some type endowment. [Ted De Grazia passed away back in 1982].

rustic structures on the walkway from parking area...

a great location with the Santa Catalina Mountains in the background

from the outside the gallery appears deceptively small -- its not

many rooms inside with hundreds of pieces of art... Each room has its own unique textures (walls, floors, ceilings). A combination of natural and artificial lighting. Very friendly, peaceful, welcoming environment. DeGrazia build his gallery in a style so that "his paintings would feel good inside" -- he succeeded, and then some.

my favorite view down the main gallery -- reminds me of Anasazi doorways in some of the ancient ruins... Check out the floor path going back, that's apparently cholla cactus wood cuttings placed in concrete. Very neat.

closer view of cactus wood floor

one room invites you to stay while the next invites you in

one of my favorites, a representation of an old story of a person drilling wood into the side of the rock walls to reach a high up cave

another favorite, great colors! more pictures of today's visit to be posted in part II.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

tailgating accident

hmmm. kind of gives new meaning to all those "stay off my bun" bumper stickers. Looks like the driver at fault may have gotten him or herself into a real pickle. The police said that while the driver in front had a legitimate beef, he had apparently been hitting the secret sauce and was pretty toasted.

[The car above is located off Broadway, southwest of Broadway/Kolb]

Friday, June 27, 2008

#32 ate at the Little Poca Cosa

I had a day off from work today and decided to go downtown and eat lunch at the Little Poca Cosa cafe. I've been meaning to eat there for years, but they are only open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, so it just hasn't happened.

One of my favorite Tucson restaurants is the larger Cafe Poca Cosa restaurant which is open for lunch & dinner, and open Saturdays. Great food at both!

The Little Poca Cosa cafe was forced by Homeland Security in 2003 to relocate from its prior location downtown in a building that was considered too close to a federal courthouse and therefore a threat (I kid you not).

After finding a parking space, I walked some streets that I haven't walked before and saw some new sights! One was a cool sculpture in a wall at a bus stop -- full of gears and pipes.

I was surprised to see this mural -- quite different from the usual "southwestern style" murals usually found around town.

and over on Toole avenue, yet another cool mural. I'll submit both of these photos to the Tucson Mural Project for their growing collection of Tucson mural pictures.

[Links: Amber has posted a fun picture she found of puppy love. I'll never look at my stove the same after reading Experiments in Free Association - part II]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

ancient modernism

I've always been fascinated with rock art and ancient symbols and the often unknown meaning behind them. Charles Cohan, a professor of art at the University of Hawaii, has made some really interesting modern, but ancient looking, art out of iconic symbols.

It would be interesting to hear how his art would be interpreted if it were found out of context in the distant future.

In the present, we can discover the meaning to his collection of mysterious symbols in the back of any airline's inflight magazine -- they are iconic representations of airport terminals. Very cool. Check out his art installations here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

#31 Summer Solstice Celebration

What better way to celebrate the solstice and a 111 degree Tucson day than to go watch people play with fire? The Arizona State Museum had a multicultural summer solstice celebration event down at the UofA today. The grand finale was an outstanding performance by the Flam Chen troupe, who did a fire performance and stilt acrobatics danced to thundering Celtic pipes and drums. Very impressive. Very dark too -- all my shots are taken with the only available light, the flames on the torches.

If you look closely you can see the blue and green glow sticks hanging from the bagpipes of members of the Seven Pipers Scottish Society. The bagpipe and drum music really meshed nicely with the fire performance of Flam Chen. Quite an impressive finale to an otherwise long day! Happy Solstice!

Earlier in the afternoon, Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc performed high energy Aztec song and dance. Here are a few members getting ready to perform.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Audrey II

On my way into the office today I passed by a good example of a fruiting saguaro. I'm sure some people look at these from a distance and think that saguaro blooms are red -- not so. Left unharvested, the fruit naturally split open so that birds and mammals can munch down and disperse the tiny seeds. Birds really like the red fruit. On top of some of the yet to open fruit are the wilted remains of the white blossoms earlier in the cycle.

Anyone spot Audrey II in the picture? If not, then you should rent the classic comedy horror musical: "The Little Shop of Horrors".

Here is a previously posted picture of the saguaro's white flowers:

[also of note: The Tucson Mural Project blog has posted pics of a pretty cool mural located down in Bisbee, Arizona.]

Saturday, June 14, 2008

#30 reflected on old new things

I was out staining and oiling my wooden gates this morning -- trying to get done before the temperature breaks 104 and before the July rains start. I briefly wondered if there was any way to get a new thing of the morning's work. Nope, nothing new here unless I try to do it standing on my head or blindfolded...

But it did get me thinking about how many things I take totally for granted that were at one time "new things" in my life, and at the time of newness, pretty darn neat.

So, here is a list of a few of this morning's OLD things, that were once new...

1) woke up to an alarm clock playing a musical CD track
2) turned off a ceiling fan by remote control
3) used a light switch
4) used a toilet
5) used a faucet
6) swallowed a pill
7) looked in a mirror
8) brushed my teeth
9) shaved
10) took a shower
11) washed my hair
12) squeegeed (is that a word? oh well, its past tense now...)
13) used a towel
14) pulled on pants
15) pushed buttons through holes on a shirt
16) used a microwave oven
17) used a coffee maker
18) opened a refrigerator
19) put dishes in a dish washer
20) pulled on socks
21) put on shoes & tied my own laces (woohoo!!)
22) opened a sliding door
23) used a garden hose
24) opened a swinging door
25) pressed a button to open a garage door
26) opened a gallon can of oil wood stain
27) mixed stain
28) put down drop cloths
29) put on gloves
30) used a paint brush
31) cleaned up my own mess
32) saw a cat
33) had a conversation with a cat
34) used a washing machine
10) took a shower (again)
35) used a laptop computer
36) read the news online
37) turned on a TV with a remote
38) read interesting experiences of people I've never met in their blogs
39) thought about what I'm going to do today, how and when
40) made a blog entry to possibly be read by people I know and some I don't

and so on...

Jeeeze... at this rate I'll have several hundred old new things by the end of the day -- maybe I've been going about this all wrong! *smile*

There are a lot of pretty neat things we do or experience without giving them a second thought. I try (and often forget) to remind myself of all the people in the world, or in past history, who have never had a chance to do some of things we take so much for granted. Note to self: Its instructive to experience life as if this was the first time, and perhaps last time, that we could experience the "new thing", even if its an old thing.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

#29 Reid Park Zoo

Have you ever had a place to visit in your own town that you just never get around to visiting? For me, its been the Reid Park Zoo -- a smallish Zoo located in central Tucson. I've been out to the larger zoo west of Tucson (the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum) that specializes in animals of the sonoran desert many, many times, but never Reid Park. So this morning I grabbed an iced coffee and visited the zoo. Actually quite nice -- since its not focused on sonoran desert creatures, there are lots of trees and water features. The male peacocks were in full display today while the hens watched over their chicks.

If you're a polar bear and live in Tucson, this is the way to spend your day!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

hoodwinked (or did it?)

This is a truck parked outside Ned & Su Egen's welded sculptures and hand wovens studio east of the UofA. In the future I'll post some pictures of some of the very large works of art in their yard. Click pics for larger images...

[I keep forgetting to refer folks over to Amber's great photos of a large moving sculpture called "Metalmorphasis" that she posted some time back -- amazing sculpture! Lynette over at the Portland Oregon Daily Photo blog as posted some great pictures of several U.S. navy ships arriving and docking. Also, grannyj over at the Walking Prescott blog has some great bird photos from her recent Louisiana trip.]

Apis Mellifera Gigantica?

I drove past this house wandering around in central Tucson the other day. Wow, sure wouldn't want to run into these bees! *smile* Looks like huge pieces of honeycomb, but of stone.

I have no idea what or where or why the holes were created. My guess is that someone has a really boring job -- you know, same old drill at work every day; other employees with a holier than thou attitude; loud rock music in the background all day; trying to stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Seriously though, my best guess, and only a guess, is that maybe these are from boring out round blanks that are then cut sideways into round coasters like I sometimes see in stores?

Anyone have any ideas?

Friday, June 6, 2008

#28 as a new thing, gave a new thing

I've been participating in's microloan program as a lender for about a year and half with great results. I've had my share of 62 microloans (my share, $25 on each loan) fully repaid so far, helping out people in countries all over the world, from Mexico to Afghanistan. Its amazing that in this day and age it is possible to loan $25 to a woman in Afghanistan AND have it fully repaid (I've had the privilege of doing exactly that). Very, very cool.

Usually when I get my share of a loan back, I roll it into a new loan. I recently received my money back from a loan to a couple in Cambodia for crop seeds and home repair. This time I decided to pay-it-forward and buy a $25 gift certificate to give to another "new thing" blogger whose blog doesn't show any references to Kiva.

Best case, I demonstrate that $25 can go from the U.S. to Cambodia, help out a person, come back to the U.S., and be given to another person to fund yet another Kiva loan of their choice, I get a "new thing" (#28), they get a "new thing", and someone gets another loan. Worst case, the recipient decides they would rather not use the Kiva gift certificate (no strings attached whatsoever) and after one year it automatically becomes a donation to help fund expenses. Either way its win-win.

If you would like to find out more about, check out a few of the many positive articles in the national press about the organization at the press section on Kiva's web site.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

monoculture, arid land style

This is a house off 6th Avenue with an interesting front yard landscape full of small barrel cacti.

#27 this new thing is behind me

One of the joys of turning 50 is adding one more thing to the doctor's recommended test slate: the dreaded but very important colonoscopy. A big enough deal that its counts as a new thing, but really wasn't as bad as I had feared. A few days of preparation, a lot of anticipation, and a short procedure under anesthesia.

I don't remember a thing, and didn't even wake up to a room full of space aliens in a UFO.

But the best news is that I had normal results, no need to repeat this for another 10 years, and this new thing is done.