Tuesday, July 31, 2012

sometimes they get out of the backyard

7/28/2012, 6th Ave, Tucson

Monday, July 30, 2012

toad you this was ribbiting...

Canon G12, 7/27/2012

This very cool frog sculpture is in the front yard of a house along 6th Avenue.  Nicely done!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tucson modern electric streetcar track construction pictures

 7/28/2012, looking East on University Blvd from Euclid Ave

Here are some pictures I took this morning of track installation on University Blvd for the new modern electric streetcar route in Tucson.

 7/28/2012, looking East on University Blvd from Euclid Ave

The left track is for the westbound SunLink route.  On the right you can see two rails that will eventually be placed for the eastbound direction.

 7/28/2012, on University Blvd, looking SE toward Tyndall Ave.

 7/28/2012, on University Blvd, looking SW from near Tyndall Ave

Today they appeared to be adjusting alignment of the track, track height, track spacing, and setting the forms for the concrete pour that will finally lock everything in place and provide street height.  The yellow bar in the photo above had a hand crank that appeared to be for adjusting the spacing between the two rails.

 7/28/2012, on University Blvd looking SE at intersection with Tyndall Ave.

 7/28/2012, looking south across University Blvd (between Park Ave & Tyndall Ave)

And of course, being an electric streetcar, there is a lot of overhead construction that needs to be done for power cables.  The above bolting plates are about 4 feet long and will be set in concrete to support the poles that hold the support cables that will suspend the over track power cables.

 7/28/2012, on University Blvd, looking... uh, down.

Lots of rebar to reinforce what will be the concrete piller holding the bolts that hold the pole that hold the cables that hold the power that power the streetcar to power the wheels to ...   Well, you get the idea.  I believe the gray conduit that they are getting ready to place down the center will be for the power running up the pole.

 7/28/2012, on University Blvd, looking SE toward the Park Ave / University Blvd intersection.

7/28/2012, looking West on University Blvd from the Park Ave / University Blvd intersection

The track on this end appears to curve a bit to the south, probably so that it can eventually have the radius needed to make the 90 degree turn to head north on Park Ave.

All and all, a very nice morning today.  In addition to the above pictures, I've taken a number of non-construction pictures over the last several days which I'll be sharing on new blog posts very soon.  

Here is a video simulation that I found on YouTube of what the "SunLink" streetcar will eventually look like traversing the route.  The stretch of track just past "Main Gate" on the video is the section of construction show in my blog post today.

[Links: Check out some incredible magical creature photography over at AimishBoy Photography:  Wonderland.]

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Easter Lily Cactus

 This is an Easter Lily Cactus blooming in my patio about two weeks ago.  The flower/stems are each 7-8 inches long.  It doesn't bloom often, and the flowers only last a day, but when it blooms its pretty spectacular.   These are all iPhone pics.

This is the same plant the day before blooming with my hand in the picture for scale.  I'd like to do a time-lapse sequence of this cactus preparing to bloom sometime in the future.

[Links: David Sobel has written a thought provoking article "Look, Don't Touch: The problem with environmental education".  He makes some very valid points concerning how we introduce kids to nature and how that has changed over time.  It made me reflect on all the neat experiences my friends and I had outdoors growing up and how very different some of those experiences might be today.  Recommended.  Its in the ORION Magazine and you can read the article here.]

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mansfeld Mural

7/15/2012, G12

This very cool mural is on an equipment enclosure on the west side of Mansfeld Middle School.  Its amazing how much people can dress up industrial equipment.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

de Tour de Tucson

7/21/2012, Helen & Cherry

Here are a few pics of deTour de Tucson from the last week, most related to rail construction for the new modern electric streetcar line that will run through the University of Arizona, 4th Ave, and downtown Tucson.  Lots of construction going on.

7/21/2012, Helen & Cherry

What with the deep potholes and large piles of gravel on our streets, I guess we can say that on average our streets are nice and flat...?
7/21/2012, Speedway east of underpass that the new streetcar line will pass through

Apparently there are detour signs for animals as well...
7/20/2012, UofA Campus, near 2nd St

"Doh!  Almost missed that turn!
7/20/2012, UofA Campus, near 2nd St

Workers laying asphalt next to new tracks.  They were using a front end loader to unload the asphalt due to the narrow strip between curb and track, shoveling, and then using a traditional motorized roller for flattening.  Looked a lot more labor intensive than normal street paving.
7/20/2012, 2nd St through UofA campus

Loading the front end loader with asphalt.
7/20/2012, 2nd St through UofA campus

7/20/2012, 2nd St through UofA campus

This stretch of 4th Ave south of 6th Street was paved and open last Sunday.  Today, not so much.  Sidewalks are still open for business access.  Must be difficult on the businesses until 4th is reopened.
7/21/2012, 4th Ave south of 6th St

4th Ave almost looks like a "western" town when the pavement is all ripped up like this... 
Where are the horses?
7/21/2012, 4th Ave south of 6th St

Its no wonder they keep warning bicyclists to be very careful crossing the tracks, this looks downright challenging.  [These are actually some of the torn up old rails that used to run down 4th for the old streetcar.]
7/21/2012, 4th Ave south of 6th St

kind of looks like they didn't stop...
7/21/2012, 4th Ave south of 6th St

ok, so up and over it is...
7/21/2012, 4th Ave south of 6th St

There is actually a fair amount of parking on the streets adjacent to 4th Ave.  Don't let the construction stop you from frequenting 4th Ave businesses.  Heck, use the construction as an excuse to come down and grab a coffee, eat a meal, and shop/window shop some while checking out the construction.  I'm sure the local shops will appreciate your business during this period.  I parked on the street below this morning and had a great coffee/breakfast at Cafe Passe on 4th Ave.
7/21/2012, from 4th Ave looking west

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

out west

7/15/2012, 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

out in the morning rain

It was a simply beautiful morning to be sitting outside watching the rain come down at Cafe Passé.  I could get used to this...   Reminded me of trips to Oregon.  :-)

[Links: First, check out this very palatable (pallet able?) 4th of July Flag art up at Prescott Area Daily Photo.  Next up, some amazing Australian star trail photography by Lincoln Harrison is featured at courier mail.com.au.]

ok, well...  made up for some missing blog time...  Back to work tomorrow and hopefully it won't be so long between shutter snaps and blog posts this time.   I hope everyone had a nice 4th of July in the US, and a nice day everywhere else!

Tucson Steel Shipping Container House

This new 2-story, 1,200 square-foot home under construction on Mountain Avenue is a first for Tucson.  The basic concept is to upcycle used shipping containers for the housing structure, cutting out interior walls, ceilings, floors as necessary to create normal open spaces inside.  It is supposed to be less expensive than traditional construction.

I stopped by the construction site this morning to take a first hand look and snap a few pictures.

Needless to say, there are differences of opinion regarding this type of construction, appearance, neighborhood placement, etc.   According to the news, some neighbors hate it, while others like it.

This home is still under construction too, so final appearance and landscaping is yet to come.

Here is a view looking Southwest across Mountain Avenue (below), you can barely see the new construction to the left of the large tree.

and looking Northwest across Mountain Avenue (below)...  You can tell the construction is taking place on a relatively small infill lot.  Overall size is about right for the lot, patio, parking.  If I was the neighbor, I wouldn't like the two story windows looking down on my yard, but that is a normal challenge/issue with housing infill construction and city permits -- nothing unique to this type of construction.

Some shipping container houses cover up the normal appearance of the containers while others leave them as-is.  My understanding from a news report is that the exterior will ultimately be a series of flat panels with a contemporary look.   [I'll be sure to drop back by to take pictures once it is fully completed.]

A White-winged Dove is already scoping out the new house, probably pondering what the landscape installation will look like.   This is actually quite a departure for the shipping container, since earlier in it's life if would often have been seen with a crane sitting on top of it.

I was able to look in a window but wasn't able to take any useable pictures -- looks very nice inside so far, very much like a normal home of this size.   I've seen a number of normal stick and board houses around town of similar size and height.   This looks like a very well constructed home and I imagine it will be very popular and have no trouble attracting buyers/renters.

I've always been intrigued by energy efficient / small houses set in really nice landscaping or natural settings (Henry Beston's The Outermost House anyone?), so I find new and different housing construction techniques really interesting.

I think once final construction and landscaping is completed this will become yet another uniquely appreciated house in an already somewhat eclectic (I mean that in a good way) neighborhood.

If you are interested in seeing the interior possibilities of shipping container homes, here is a website with some great outside/inside pictures of a six container home up in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Would you/could you live in one?  I think I could, especially with a nice shady green patio area outside.  It will be interesting to see how this style of housing catches on as a construction technique and how it is accepted or rejected by neighbors and communities.   There are many examples of people/communities being very reluctant to accept new styles of housing construction and/or appearances in the past.  Personally I think this style of home has a lot of possibilities and there are a lot variations that could be done to present different types of external appearances.

This Tucson Steel Shipping Container House is a project of Anderson Workshop.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

4th Ave area murals

Escaping work for much of the day today, I started out by spending the morning sipping coffee and reading at one of my favorite coffee places on 4th Avenue (which I don't get to visit nearly as often as I would like).  I wandered an alley on the way back to my car to see what was new (to me) in street art and snapped the above pics.   It was a really nice morning to be outside reading in their patio.

[Links: Check out this incredible kangaroo picture at PerthDaily Photo]

then and now...

I continue to be impressed with this business sculpture at Straight to the Point on Speedway.  I drive past it pretty much every day on my way into work and have watched it slowly take on more character over time as it rusts.  They now have a Bougainvillea growing up the side of the tree which contrasts really nicely with the rusted metal form of the tree.

Here's shot of the tree that I took back in November 2010 when it was "bright and shiny".  I like it even  better now.

I haven't been posting much recently... Usually that's either a sign that I'm having too much fun or that work/life balance is a bit out of whack.  Its been the latter...   Seeing what I can do about that...

[Links: Diane over at Desert Colors has some really nice pictures of birds eating saguaro cacti fruit over on her blog: Desert Colors.   Check out some truly amazing photographs of liquid drop art by Corrie White.]