Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Theme of the Week

And I think you know who I mean:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Prez Day

It gets better and better...

Living in Phoenix is a mixed blessing. As it becomes more populated and the traffic becomes almost unbearable, the city planners are paying more attention to the downtown area and improving public transportation and the city's cultural center. But for its size, it's always been a bit of a cow town.

You can find things to do if you know where to look, and that has always been true, but it's getting easier and easier, and the quality is improving. There is even vibrancy downtown now; well, around events like First Fridays, but at least it's getting better.

But this week there's a Krzysztof Zanussi film festival - a seemingly random event for this town. Prior to this, the area was only known for its art - Scottsdale is a pretty big art center. Now we have 2 very decent film festivals that are becoming players on the national festival circuit - Phoenix and Scottsdale - and edgier ones like the Jewish and the Gay/Lesbian film festivals. But a Zanussi film festival? He's even going to be here in person.

Zanussi heavily influenced Krzysztof Kieslowski, a fellow Pole who also began his career under communist rule. Kieslowski's Blue, White, Red (Colors Trilogy), is one of my favorites of all time, and I just happen to be re-watching it this month with Kevin... but I'm unfamiliar with Zanussi's work... So it's great timing to have this seemingly random event drop in our laps...

So yay Phoenix. I'm still gonna leave though. :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

V-day Hearts

Make your own hearts - click on the title link...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My cool mom

Most of my friends, when they meet my mom, ask to be adopted. They visit her in Florida without me, and she has been known to drive 4.5 hours to a Springsteen party. (Don't ask.) She previews Jon Stewart for me at 11 every night to let me know if I should watch it the next day at 8 my time... she sends me articles about current events and forwards sarcastic email jokes and saves signed first edition books for me... you get the picture.

But in addition to being funny and hip (no, I'm not referring to the springsteen part), she is really nice, so she is not able to just send a sarcastic card when holidays roll around, she has to send nice ones too. So here is the funny one I got for V-day:

Happy V-day to you too, mom.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Not quite what I was planning...

"Everyone has a story. Can you tell yours in six words? Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure collects almost 1,000 six-word memoirs... Surprisingly addictive, Not Quite is both a moving peek at the minutia of humanity and the most literary toilet reading you’ll ever find."

Funny stuff - check out some of the quotes:

"I thought it was funny." Stephen Colbert
"Couldn't cope so I wrote songs." Aimee Mann
"Fifteen years since last professional haircut." Dave Eggers

Right off the top of my head, I'd say mine is
Takes a licking, keeps on ticking

Send yours or click on the title link to submit yours to be considered for SMITH's next six-word memoir book.

Friday, February 08, 2008

It was 20 years ago today...

That I moved from Sarasota, Florida, to Phoenix.

Aside from a brief timeout for bad behavior, during which I was exiled to Southern California, I have happily called Phoenix my home since 1988. The city has changed dramatically in that time; the population has increased by about 16%, the traffic has increased by about 2000%, the summers have gotten hotter, and the winters colder. This is the first place that ever felt like home to me, and this is the longest I have lived in one place.

When I moved here, there was no Highway 51, no Trader Joe's, one independent theater, and no one went downtown except for First Fridays. In 1991 you could go to First Fridays and literally take over the empty galleries, eat all the food, and they actually served drinks. The Ice House had great parties and installations. Now, while it's so much more fun (well, except for the Ice House), sometimes you have to wait in line to get a good look at a cool painting. And, while you could easily get on the Art Detour back then - just sign up, which we did in a short-lived gallery called Artcentricity, the art is so much better now and the shuttles so much more organized.

We didn't have the cool Wil Bruder library, or the remodeled Art Museum. But we had the Refreshments, the Gin Blossoms, the Pistoleros, and all the other great Tempe-based bands. We had Long Wongs, Chuy's, and the Library - Mill Avenue was a street lined with independent stores rather than corporate chains. But now we have at least 3 great Irish pubs and some high quality concert venues. No one will ever miss the pit that was the Coliseum.

I have some of the same friends I made that first year (hey Mark and Greg), but most have moved on, because Phoenix remains a transient place. The upside of that is that people are always moving here - I meet new people every year.

When I leave, I will miss most of it. I just can't believe I've lived somewhere for 20 years.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wind Dam

This project that looks like a cross between a sail boat and a creature out of Pan's Labyrinth is actually a proposed wind dam, to be built in northern Russia's Lake Lagoda. The creators actually intend for it to look sculptural in addition to being functional. It will harness the wind like a sail, or kite, and send it through a turbine, which is the white part. If approved, the makers estimate the dam could power up to 35 homes per year.

If it successful, they plan to market it world-wide. It would look beautiful in the Arizona mountains too. Despite how jarring the windmill farm is when you first see it, entering Palm Springs, it becomes almost other worldly when you're driving through it. Something colorful and floating in the desert would be oh so wonderful.

If only more designers were supported for giving objects a magical appearance, something to provoke a sense of wonder or emotion, like you get from art.

Friday, February 01, 2008