Tuesday, December 30, 2008

look out below!

today i took my first ride on the light rail.
it was great, i look forward to being a frequent 
rider. while waiting at the tempe transportation
station, several paragliders sailed high overhead. 
i believe they launched from nearby "A" mountain. 
they are no doubt practicing
landing in sun devil stadium (directly below
this glider), where the minnesota golden
gophers will go against the kansas jayhawks for
tomorrow afternoon's insight bowl.

Monday, December 29, 2008

little boys and trains

tempe's light rail celebration included a farmer's market 
(planned to be a permanent tempe fixture beginning in 
April), displays of hohokam pottery found along the
 rail site, chronology of light 
rail planning and construction, and miniature trains 
like this one, chugging around a fanciful carnival. 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

light rail celebrations

the cover band known as "the chris parker project"
played in the parking lot across from the new 
tempe transportation center yesterday while 
people drank hot chocolate, ate brats, and walked
to the light rail station at veterans way/college avenue.
they sounded great!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

big turnout

today was the official launch of light rail. judging by the
turnout at the 2 tempe stations 
i visited, our new transportation is going to be very 
popular. there were so many people waiting to board
i decided to wait until tomorrow or monday to take
my first ride. each train can hold 575 people and each 
train was completely full of riders all day. i'm 
not sure how many trains are in the fleet, but they come
by every 10 minutes (20 during off peak hours). it was
quite a festival-like feeling in downtown tempe where
music played and crowds of people walked down mill 
avenue and along the side streets. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

light rail art

several works of art adorn the dorsey/apache 
light rail station, including this saguaro 
skeleton. when a saguaro dies, the flesh
decays leaving a beautiful woody skeleton. 
this rendering looks just like the 
real thing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

countdown to light rail

in just 5 days light rail will begin to transport 
commuters from mesa through tempe to phoenix. as 
typically happens when a new change goes into effect, 
there are cynics and proponents. i am among the 
excited and am hopeful that the train will be so successful 
that north-south extensions will follow in the 
not-so-distant future. until then, i plan to ride from tempe
to downtown phoenix, try out new restaurants, 
go to the phoenix library, catch a suns game - all without 
a thought about where to park. and on the way, 
i'll read a book. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

twas the weekend before christmas...

and all through the parking lot,
not a space was available, 
except in the very back - but that makes it easier to 
remember where you parked!
it was cars galore at arizona mills mall and everywhere 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

from Normal to ASU

Arizona State University first opened as the Tempe
Normal School in 1885. it was renamed to Arizona
State College in 1945, and then was given university 
status in 1958 (by ballot initiative and 2-1 voting majority), 
becoming the only higher education
institution to have achieved university status by 
popular mandate.

Friday, December 19, 2008

tall man

this metal sculpture stands tall (30
ft?) near city hall.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Philomathian Bench

the philomathian bench was given to ASU in 1929
by the literary philomathian society. it is located 
near the piper writers house at the main campus. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

house sparrow

female house sparrow sitting on an 
agave stalk near Tempe City Hall. 
house sparrows were introduced to 
New York in 1850 and spread to 
California by 1910, they are now
found all across the U.S., Canada,
and Mexico. in the nearly 100 years 
since their expansion, they have 
developed some geographic 
variation due to varying environmental
conditions across their range. northern
populations tend to be larger and 
our southwestern birds are a bit paler
than those in the eastern and Pacific parts
 of the U.S.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Manzanita Hall

with its signature triangular windows, ASU's 
Manzanita residence hall was once its largest.
Many new dorms have been constructed in recent years, 
but Manzanita is still one of the most 
recognizable. it's located just north of 
university drive, right across from the noble science
library. the word manzanita is from the spanish manzana
meaning apple. in the southwest, Manzanita
is known to refer to several species
of evergreen shrubs found in chaparral habitats of 
western United States and northern and central Mexico. 
Their stiff twisty branches are beautiful,
 smooth and usually red or orange. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

upside down

Tempe's city hall building, built in 1970, is award-winning 
and unusual. its unique architecture - an upside down
pyramid - was designed by Michael and Kemper Goodwin
to conserve energy by allowing less light into the building.
the Tempe architects received an award of 
excellence from the American Institute of Steel 
Construction and an award of merit from the 
Western Mountain Region of American Institute
of Architects. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

festival of lights entertainment

musicians and dancers were part of the 
entertainment at the festival of lights boat parade.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

snow on a 70 degree day...

it snows in some areas of arizona - it's 2 hours to the
ski slopes of flagstaff - but it's a certainty that there 
will not be snow in tempe, except on special occasions
when the someone gets the snow machine out. 
this afternoon, amidst sunny
skies and short sleeves, there was a big pile of the 
cold stuff for the kids to play in. it was part of the
festivities at tempe lake leading up to the 
fantasy of lights boat parade.

Friday, December 12, 2008

where we live

tempe homes are practical, functional, and if you like 
spanish style - beautiful. flat-roofed haciendas, cozy 
ranch style, flagstone, saltillo tile, arched entryways, 
rounded windows, smooth stucco, iron trim, terra
cotta tans and burnt umber browns. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

holiday displays

on tempe butte ("A" mountain), wise men
make their way east by camel. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


in the same little mill avenue courtyard next to Carlyn's 
barbershop (featured Monday) is a little
import shop - Yucatecan Imports. a great little store
that's been around for a while. if you're looking 
for a unique gift or a shirt unlike the mass produced
tees available from a chain, then this may be up 
your alley. specializing in hand-woven wallets and
clothing, bags, and necklaces from Mexico, Central
and South America as well as Thailand, Turkey, India, 
and Tibet.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

easy rider

*mill avenue*
some days i think it would be so nice to be pulled 
around in a small suitcase. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

Carlyn's Barber Shop

tucked away in a quiet courtyard on mill avenue,
Caryn's Barber Shop has just enough room for 
customer waiting and one in the barber seat. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

sneak peak

*mill avenue*
sneaking a peak over the shoulder of an artist
at the art festival. the colors in 
his painting are true to the colors of Arizona 
sunsets - vibrant.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

festival of the arts

*Fall Festival of the Arts, Mill Ave*
for 40 years, tempe has hosted a festival
of the arts, usually the first weekend 
in december on mill avenue. so many unique 
arts and crafts, jewelry, photos, curios, 
paintings, tchotchkes, trinkets for the 
wall and garden. it was a gorgeous day 
and thousands came to shop and look around. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

beauty in the details

*mill avenue*
i love artistic details. why have plain tile when 
a few tiles like these can add such flair?
that's what i enjoy about photography - finding details
through a lens.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

stately bird

arizona's state bird, the cactus wren, is one of my
favorites. they're bold and inquisitive and even 
though their song is not really musical, i love 
the familiar chugging sound, which was described
to me once as the sound of a car not starting:
krrr krrr krrr....krrr krrr krrr
hard to spell what i mean, but when you hear it, 
you'll know.

notable: cactus wrens never cock their tails 
like other wrens do and form permanent pair bonds 
(like many birds) - i wonder if that's a civil union, a
marriage, or if they just decide to stay together?

Monday, December 1, 2008

will it go round in circles...

the chihuly exhibit at
the desert botanical garden
 provided an excellent opportunity
for December's circles and spheres theme: a rowboat
full of beautifully colored globes.