Saturday, April 26, 2008

#20 Tucson art crawl, crawling artists

I went downtown today to watch the Third Annual Tucson Madonnari International Chalk Art Festival. Pretty cool to watch the artists working on their temporary public art pieces from start to finish. Here are a few selected pics:

one last round on the magic carpet

Two weeks ago I posted some pictures taken from the fence of the defunct Magic Carpet Golf miniature golf course. The car dealership that purchased the land has allowed people to try to save some of the figures, and today there was a fund raiser for the Valley of the Moon which is going to take some of the objects. Volunteers cleaned up the place and actually put fresh paint on things. This was a great last-chance for people to come out and put a few rounds with their kids, or just take some pictures. Based on the number of people there at 11 am this morning, I'm guessing they are going to have a very successful fundraiser between then and 11 pm tonight. The parking lot was completely full. Good for them!

This snake was very faded two weeks ago, now sports fresh paint.

Unfortunately the stairs to the top of the Tiki head were locked, so I couldn't go up there to get a overall shot of all the people below.


I can tell that this place is old if this is how they used to google the web!

4/30/08 Update: Today's morning news reported that the Saturday fundraiser (above) raised $15,000 to assist in the relocation of some of the creatures before they are leveled for the future parking lot. Its nice to see what can be done when a community and business (in this case the Chapman car dealership) can come together.

Friday, April 25, 2008

a pair of prickly pear

The prickly pear cacti in my neighborhood are now starting to bloom. Looks like lots of pollen for the bees!

Below is the saguaro arm that I pass by daily. It is really going to town sending out flower buds! I'm guessing another couple of days before the first bloom.

Friday, April 18, 2008

budding, blooming, bloomed

Springtime in Tucson -- a very nice time of year! The paloverde trees are in bloom with bright yellow flowers and a lot of other desert plants are starting to bloom. I snapped three examples on the way home from work today:

These are flower buds on the tip of a saguaro arm. Each of the white fuzzy areas will have a bud emerge, grow, eventually bloom into a really nice white flower, close, and then grow into a red fruit enjoyed by birds and people. I took this shot standing on a rock looking down on the arm. Cabbages, anyone?

Cholla cacti on my side of town are budded out and just beginning to bloom.

The ocotillo have been in full bloom for a couple of weeks and are going strong, looking like torches. Depending on the soil and amount of water present, some plants have no leaves at all and are just bright flowers at the end of seemingly dead sticks; while other plants are fully leafed out. Leaves or no leaves, they are healthy plants.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

#19 read up on the Electoral College

I've been home sick with a bad cold the last two days. Since misery loves company, I decided to read up on the Electoral College methods of electing our President and Vice President. I've been a critic of the current method as not being representative of me, an individual voter.

Having now read "The Electoral College" on the Federal Election Commission's web site and the Wikipedia page on "Electoral College (United States)", I realize there are more issues in play than just going to a popular vote (sigh). So I won't whine quite as much about it anymore. *smile*

I probably (I hope!) learned how the Electoral College works back in High School and have just forgotten the specifics. A good reminder to myself to spend some time researching things of which I'm critical...

I am still frustrated with how the major parties (and many news outlets) try to polarize everyone into either RED or BLUE categories to help maintain or increase their political party's clout (and ratings). I believe that there are a significant number of issues that most people could reach reasonable consensus on if we weren't all being purposely polarized against each other and the good of the people, the country, and the world.

OK, enough politics. Just posting this since it counts as a new thing on a sneezy day...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

#18 submitted a photo of a Tucson mural

Last weekend I submitted a photo I took of a Tucson mural to Randy Garsee's Tucson mural project which was accepted and posted on his blog.

From Randy's blog description: "Tucson has hundreds of murals, yet you will not find a map to a single one. These wall-size works of art would be a great addition to encourage Tucson tourism. You can help. Send us your pictures of your favorite murals. Murals must be accessible to the public. Include the address and artist information, if you have it. The objective is to collect pictures of every mural in Tucson and, eventually, create a map showing their locations."

You can find Randy's growing collection of Tucson mural photos at:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The final days of Magic Carpet Golf

This is a closed miniature golf place that wasn't maintained very well the last few years that it was open, but was a Tucson landmark for over 30 years. Even closed, weedy, and with peeling paint, the campy wire and concrete creatures have a certain eye appeal. A car dealership recently purchased the land; people with fond childhood memories have found homes for many of these pieces to find new life elsewhere in town.

I think the monkey's tail used to swing back and forth to interfere with a put...

Spider obstacle?

Another swinging tail, and that ain't no bull!

Like a fish out of water...

hmmm, well the body looks like an ostrich anyway...

I wonder if the ball traveled into the snake's mouth and the exited the tail? I think some of these type of miniature golf obstacles used to have mechanisms to do things like that?

Sign of the times?

I read that the kon-tiki feature is going to a restaurant somewhere down on fourth avenue...

Not sure what else is back in there, these were the only shots I could get from outside the fenced no-trespassing area.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Which brings us to the Pacific Coast...

The beautiful Oregon coast has a history of large Tsunamis. There is a large plate about 75 miles off shore which builds up pressure and has (and will again) produced earthquakes and large tsunamis which can range in height from 35 to 100 feet. Each town has evacuation plans, although the notice from quake to wave can be as little as 5 to 10 minutes, worst case. They tell people that if you feel the ground shake, you should immediately run to high ground (100 feet plus). Depending on where you are at, that can be easier said than done.

"The" tsunami is kind of the unspoken elephant in the room up here... As you drive around, walk the beach, etc. Probably not for one or two hundred years... Could be tomorrow... There are houses that very clearly would be destroyed, others that are quite safe. This doesn't detract at all from the great beauty of the coast, but to visit or live here one is certainly aware of the word tsunami, that's why I'm mentioning it, its a feature here.

My friends LK & BK were excellent hosts (as always) and took me to a number of just outstanding area restaurants. Many with views such as the one above, right out the window (no zoom or cropping).

This is a picture looking up at Cape Foulweather from the Otter Rock area.

Same Otter Rock location, but looking SW toward Gull Rock.

Here I am at Fishing Rock

A short Point & Shoot video to prove the ocean was moving in my other pictures...

And I also have to thank my other two friends who made this trip so enjoyable, Mija and Tiger (Tiger pictured, Mija was sleeping)! This pretty much wraps up pictures suitable for the blog from my Oregon trip. Hope you enjoyed.

More pics of tile mural in Toledo, Oregon

I think my earlier post of the above picture of a tile mural didn't quite do justice to it, so here are a few closer pictures which I hope will capture the feel of it better...

Here you can see the actual tile work making up the train. The horizontal lines are actually big concrete steps rising about 3 feet each and each dropping back about 3 feet from the previous one respectively. Since the panels aren't on a flat wall, the alignment of the pictures changes as people drive or walk past it, with only one viewing position showing that picture aligned "properly".

For example, from where I was standing for the above shot, the yellow center lines are in a single line...

But from this vantage point, they are no longer aligned. You can also see that from this angle the man is not only misaligned left-to-right, but also front-to-back! Pretty neat design concept that someone had, I think.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Oregon Street Art

There is a lot of great street art around Oregon. I'll share a few favorites from my recent trip:

Fauna of a park in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon

A weathered couple wandering the streets of Depoe Bay, Oregon

Flying Whales in Newport, Oregon

Coast Guard Helicopter in Newport, Oregon

Tile mural built on multiple staggered large concrete steps in Toledo, Oregon. It looks two-dimensional, but actually has three dimensions and parts shift perspective as you walk past it (e.g. those road centerline segments aren't necessarily in line, depending on where you are standing). Very cool.