Saturday, January 31, 2009

pride and commerce

everyone in the valley is excited for the cardinals to 
play in the superbowl tomorrow. folks wearing red, lots
of them sporting cardinals jerseys, flags streaming
from cars, and vendors on street corners. it's fun. 
i hope the oregon zoo orangutan's know their stuff,
i hope the cardinals win.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

saguaro awry

Saguaro cacti are often illustrated with two 
arms, in a "stick 'em up" pose; but 
actually they are rarely symmetrical. in fact, 
sometimes saguaros grow in odd, fanned out
 shapes like this one, also called a crested
saguaro. it isn't known whether this results
from a genetic mutation or whether the crest
 is the result of environmental damage like 
lightning or a freeze; but crested saguaros 
are rare.

Monday, January 26, 2009

middle eastern cuisine

not far to the west of Haji Babas is the Cafe Istanbul
and Market. I haven't eaten there, but it looks like 
a good place, with a few seats outside. The parking lot is 
also a park and ride spot for the light rail, for riders 
who get on at the Dorsey station. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

mom and pop thrift

Gracie's Thrift, located on Apache Boulevard, is a 
non-profit store run by Grace Community Church.
Even thrift stores are dominated by "chains" like
Goodwill and Savers, so it's nice to have a place like 
Gracie's. Sameness is boring and bland; I prefer 
unique stores with one-of-a-kind names.  

Saturday, January 24, 2009

along the apache trail

Apache Boulevard, also known as Apache Trail, was a 
former highway connecting Phoenix with Globe and 
Superior to the east. All along Apache Boulevard are
the sort of businesses - service stations, restaurants, and
motels like this pastel pink one - that one would expect 
would spring up along a busy highway. Then in the 
60's and 70's, new highways were built, and Apache became
 just another street with an eclectic mix of roadside businesses. 
Now that Apache hosts several miles of the light rail, it will be
 interesting to watch how the revitalization of the street 
as it becomes an important travel corridor once again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

beans and olives

beans and olives and lots of baklava to choose from 
at Haji Babas. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

word of mouth

one of my favorite places to eat in tempe is
haji baba's. this middle-eastern restaurant, located on 
Apache Drive between Rural and McClintock, was founded in 1981
and also has a little store with a huge selection of mediterranean, 
persian, indian, middle-eastern and european foods. it is 
a simple little place in an old strip mall, the kind that only 
attract a "word of mouth" crowd. since i'm heading out
to the field tomorrow, i'll schedule a post from inside 
the store for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

commander in chief

i first featured this photo last november 10, but
wanting to feature Barack Obama today, and being a bit 
short on photos, i'm featuring it again. today our new 
president was inaugurated. it was a day when millions were
present in washington d.c., and millions upon millions 
more were glued to their televisions and internet feeds.
my favorite part was seeing barack and michelle 
walk down pennsylvania avenue. and the 
happiness and optimism that was prevalent today was 
a pretty good part too. sorry for the several day absence;
after a bit of a break i'm back. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

park it here

yesterday's featured transportation center has a bike
station where commuters can get their 
bicycles repaired while at work. the station
 is secure and even has showers so 
you can freshen up before hopping on the train!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

tempe transportation center

at the base of "a" mountain, the new tempe tranportation
center is a light rail and tempe orbit circulator 
stop; also the building was constructed with a variety of
green strategies. for water conservation, there are low flow
water fixtures, use of greywater, rainwater harvesting, and my 
personal favorite: a green vegetated roof.

Monday, January 12, 2009

the Z

Z Gallery is one of my favorite stores. They 
have the latest in contemporary furnishings. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009


another view of a light rail sculpture
i first posted on december 26. the bronze
hands are meant to depict light rail connections - connecting
us with other neighborhoods and cultures. new york artist
Suikang Zhao sculpted the work.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

what we do in the winter

i know there are a lot of people out there who enjoy
the snow and the cold, but me, i'm a fan of our 
70 degree winter days where you have your choice
to wear a sweatshirt in the shade or short sleeves in the

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

ASU Art Museum

a backside view of the ASU Art Museum, a 
beautiful building and always with free admission.
the current exhibition (through January 25) is 
recent works created by the art faculty at ASU's
Herberger College School of Art, with various
media being shown (painting, photography, 
drawing, sculpture, fiber and ceramics, and 
research by art history professors).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium

Gammage Auditorium, located on ASU's 
main campus near Mill and Apache, is 
considered to be the last public commission of 
architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It opened in 1964
with the Philadelphia Orchestra and currently is 
host to the Broadway musical, The Lion King, which
I saw tonight. Wow. Fantastic. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

blue collar chic?

i don't believe i've ever tried a cup of dunkin' donuts 
coffee. i'm not sure if it's the bright pink and orange
colors or perhaps the emphasis on "donut" in the name,
but i've instinctively avoided their coffee, assuming it 
wouldn't be on par with a local independent like gold bar or 
else the reliably consistent starbucks. but 
one thing is sure, dunkin' donuts has updated its
look (added lots of people running with styrofoam
coffee cups) and is working to transform from the company whose
spokesman's line was "time to make the doughnuts" to
something more coffee-centric.  this new store 
opened on mill avenue a few months ago. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

rainy days and sundays

in stark contrast to yesterday's pleasant skies and warm sun, 
today was overcast with light rains and cool enough for a 
light jacket or sweater. we're starting to make a little 
headway on our battle against a long drought. 

Friday, January 2, 2009

interesting characters

i ventured into phoenix by train tonight, excited to attend 
my first, "first friday" event. first friday is an art walk
held in downtown phoenix on the first friday of each 
month. thousands were out touring galleries, studios,
 cafes, coffee shops and pubs. the vibe was fantastic; 
the artwork, wide-ranging; musicians played in the streets 
and on porches, and there were more than a few
interesting characters out and about.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year!

"the sun"
my favorite photo from 2008,  
taken at the desert botanical garden. 
hope your 2009 is as festive and bright as this 
chihuly glass sculpture!