The backyard of the Sedona Dream Maker Bed and Breakfast in Sedona, Arizona.
Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, Arizona.
A deceiving headline, I know, but essential in conveying what I felt when I first moved to Arizona. I was certain that this state was just that, a desert.
Two hours north of the cacti and dust, at a summit elevation of 11,500 feet, there is the Arizona Snowbowl. First, I came skiing a few years ago before I realized that entailed too many moving parts. My friend Joey will still remember the first time I went on the lift and ceremoniously dropped one of my poles in a panic as I tried to hold on to the seat.
On my last sailing trip, I had my Canon SD750 point-and-shoot camera safely stored below deck, where I thought it would be safe from rolling waves and splashing water. But in a twist of fate, in which the irony is not lost on me, the camera was siting right next to an inappropriately capped bottle of water. This bottle of water, and not a drop from the Pacific Ocean all around us, was the culprit of what I thought was the end of my camera. I remember looking at the drench screen, now flashing completely white, and the equally drenched battery and memory card.
The short burst of disappointment ended when I realized how far, how great and for how long that camera had served me — much longer that I had ever hoped. It went skiing with me, lived on a boat, it traveled to several countries and islands; it attended gatherings at seedy bars and lame restaurants.
Arizona and the desert have a lot of detractors. I’ve met many of them throughout my life here, usually before they depart back East, and I’m sure I know many still. The arguments run along these lines: it’s hot, the landscape is dreary, it’s hot, there are no trees, and it’s hot. Whatever your opinion of Arizona and its politics, culture (or lack thereof) and vegetation — it’s a beautiful state. Almost anywhere you go, the view is framed by mountains, now with snow-covered peaks, and they’re sort of looking out as if waiting to finally be appreciated. During my drive up to Wickenburg, I had plenty of time to appreciate.
I wanted to go to Jerome but since the winter storm hit the High Country, it seems a lot of roads in that area are shut down. So I looked for some other location, closer to the Valley and without dangerous driving conditions. Wickenburg is about 30 miles northwest of Phoenix and perfect for a short day trip. My goals were simple: take my camera out of dusty storage and learn about a different part of Arizona. Towns, I believe, are like parts of a puzzle in a state’s history. The more I visit, they more I understand, and then the more understanding I can be to a culture which is often still foreign to me.
I’m totally crushing on Colbie Caillat, who is a gorgeous lady.
I could not have asked for a better first show since departing in February to sail the seas. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix, Sunday September 26. There was never a thought in the house to sit down. There was too much heart and soul in Sharon Jones and the music, leaving the audience no choice but dance, move, stand and feel. Sharon Jones actively encouraged audience members to come onstage, to show their dance moves, to seduce them.
The entire show, from beginning to end, filled the Orpheum with energy and rhythm. As the crowd walked out, they probably blessed their lucky stars for the pleasure of attending instead of going to bed early or watching TV at home.
It comes as no surprise that weather doesn’t really happen in Phoenix. But when weather does happen, it tends to be a pretty inspiring sight. It can be beautiful, or it can look like The End of the World has just been angered by Sheriff Joe.
The light just screams “come take a picture of me you foo’ ” .
I ain’t no foo’
Working for a major newspaper has never been about the perks for the little guy or gal. I’ve had some great opportunities, to be sure, like photographing concerts, and that fun SkyCycle project. But there have never been any real perks. As in, things you get to do that are fun and great without it being related to a project you’re working on.
This weekend, finally (and ironically), a perk trickled down my way.
My friend Tyler down in Sports was given some comp “luxury suite” tickets for the Coyotes-New York Ranger’s game. It was then that I realized I’ve never been to a hockey game, let alone watched it from a nice, lux suite.
The view was fantastic.
It’s the only way to watch a game!
Right below us on the stands, a teenager got hit by a puck, and was spitting blood and, apparently, some teeth. No thanks.
You don’t need to understand hockey to be truly amazed by those guys out there. Seeing them skate, move, run, stop, turn around, push each other, ALL while on ice, is ridiculous. I have a hard time doing any of those on solid ground. They make you forget they’re on this hard, unforgiving, slippery surface.
Coyotes win 3-2. They were leading 3-0 most of the game, but the Rangers stepped it up toward the end and almost tied it.
I think I would go to more sporting events if I got invited to more suites.
A storm of biblical proportions (well, at least by Arizona standards) has hit the entire state. Snow is blanketing the north part of Arizona, while unrelenting rain continues to soak the Phoenix metro area.
Here are just a few shots I managed throughout the day with my point-and-shoot camera.
As you can see, I’ve got a re-design going on around here, so bare with me while I finalize everything.
A while ago, the Daily Show did a hilarious segment about how the state of Arizona was going to sell its Capitol and other government buildings (and then lease them back) in order to crawl out of their enormous budget deficit.
Then a few weeks ago, we were presented with the idea of doing some sort of illustration about the topic, mainly emphasizing what a big mess Arizona lawmakers have on their hands. After several meetings in which a variety of ideas were tossed around, @jacysmith suggested doing a puzzle. After all, it’s literally puzzling how the state will ever figure out its budget. The idea just grew from there, and the whole package ended up having several components with the same ‘puzzle’ theme.
I did a puzzle box for the cover of the section while Jacy took the helm on the inside puzzle. Here’s what the front of the section looked like…
And here’s the inside puzzle. Click on the thumbnail below to see a larger version.