Archive for August, 2006

Scientific proof that absolutely nothing happens in Mesa.

SustainLane’s study of cities in harm’s way lists Mesa and Milwauke as having the lowest risk for natural disasters. I guess evil heat and beer slobs are not considered natural disasters.

Number two at risk is New Orleans. I have been following trials and tribulations of our friends at MetroBlogging New Orleans and a year later the struggles continue.

Real Estate market back to normal

It was bound to happen. The azcentral article about our real estate market didn’t surprise me one bit.

The house I used to own back in California has now double its worth. I cringe everytime I check out the stats at a cool website called Zillow. But still, the houses here are much more reasonable than the ones in California even during the time of the housing boom. What I didn’t like about it during that time was the fact that communities selling their houses had a very snotty mentality about their fortune and made people sign up for lotteries to vy for a home.

I went back to the main office to take photos of landscaping ideas for our backyard project a couple of weeks back and found the place rather dead. The people working there were extremely nice though, even though most of them were new hires, they were much more pleasant than 2 years ago.

How about a tomato fight?

tomato.jpgA bit off track here, but bear with me. This morning on Headline News I heard, out of the corner of my ear, a comment about a town food fight in Spain – a tomato fight to be specific. A quick Google verified that my ear correctly caught the snippet and I now bring this valuable information to the blog. Every August in Bunol, Spain, there is a festival that begins with a ham on top of a pole. Climbers vie to capture the ham and, once done, truckloads of tomatoes are dumped on the town streets and a tomato fight begins. I don’t undertand the ham-tomato connection, but it’s their tradition and who am I to interfere?

tomatina.jpgI found several websites, one with a photo gallery that showed a sea of red juice – simply amazing. So how does this relate to Phoenix, you wonder? As I looked at the red, chunky liquid produced from the fight, I could only think of salsa – a primary foodstuff in the great Southwest. If we were to add peppers, onion, cilantro and any other requisite ingredients to the fight, it seems Phoenix could host a tomato fight and create a seriously large bowl of salsa.

We need a category for creative thinking.

New American City: Artists Look Forward exhibition at ASU Art Museum

newamericancity.jpgAs an art student at ASU I am happy that John Spiak from the ASU Art Museum has written in to tell us about an exhibit that he is curating called “New American City: Artists Look Forward.” The exhibit is open from Sept. 9 2006 through Jan. 27 2007 and will feature local artists from throughout the valley.

ASU’s QB flip-flop

As excited as I was for the Arizona State football season, I’m now just as baffled. Quick recap: Coach Dirk Koetter names senior Sam Keller his starting quarterback over sophomore Rudy Carpenter, who came on in the second half last season when Keller went down with an injury. Carpenter apparently has thoughts of transferring. Koetter meets with a player leadership group. Koetter names Carpenter starter. Keller transfers to Nebraska.

Keeping up?

In a season of high hopes for the Sun Devils, I fear this one will anger the gods of karma. Why didn’t Koetter foresee this – that whichever QB wouldn’t start likely would want to transfer? Why wait until two weeks before the season to name the starter? If there’s going to be a fallout from the decision, let it happen in the spring. Although, in Koetter’s defense (kind of), who knew he was dealing with such prima donnas?

It’s pretty clear that if both threatened to transfer, Koetter would rather cut his losses and lose a senior as opposed to a sophomore with three more years of eligibility. We’ll never know why the sudden about-face, but it leaves me feeling that Koetter isn’t as in touch with his players as he should be.

And to think at the start of training camp, having two star quarterbacks seemed like such a great problem to have.

On the bus . . .

vmlogo.gifThe Valley Metro buses have signs about a “new policy” that was invoked on July 24, 2006. I would see it and forget about it after I got to work, but today it stayed with me. The policy says that children under the age of seven must be accompanied by a responsible person, able to supervise and control the child. I’m paraphrasing because I didn’t write it down while on the bus and when I went to Valley Metro’s site, looking for the language, I couldn’t find it. My question is why they need to issue such a policy? Do they have a lot of riders under the age of seven who are all alone? Or is this aimed at 10, 11, 12 year olds riding with small children and the older child is unable to control the younger child? Or is this for parents who don’t understand concepts like discipline and control? I’d really like to know what prompted this policy as I can’t imagine putting a 6 or 7 (or younger!) year old on the bus alone. I’d have deep reservations allowing a 10 year old to travel alone with their 3 or 4 year old sibling. I haven’t seen these things, but I only ride two bus routes. It’s a curiosity and I’m open to enlightenment.

Nothing North of Here

We went to bed last night early, heads on pillows and the television on Comedy Central before 9:30pm, lightheaded and walking two steps north with each step east we take. We were hoping it would rain, but it did nothing more then sprinkle a bit, even as we stood out on our balcony after a dinner at The Salt Cellar was postponed a few nights in exchange for a night in, watching Japanese horror films and commenting on what is lost in translation when the English subtitles just won’t do. We wanted sushi, but drove past Sushi Avenue at Higley & Guadelupe, having been previously disgusted at their weak attempt at tuna shashimi and serving me a to-go box of salmon roe when it was in fact sea urchin that I had ordered.

We drove to Val Vista & Baseline instead, knowing it has the best sushi closest to our house, and we picked up rainbow rolls, tuna shashimi, unagi, and salmon wrapped atop a spicy tuna roll, and we also chipped in for a Japanese vodka, made from rice, that taste of saki. Back home and the Smirnoff is set aside, our homosexual drinking tendencies having graduated to the more expensive vodka and Patrone tequila.

The next morning I step out at 6am and am continually fascinated by the Arizona sky. Every sight line is a different hue, and the rain is out over Ahwatukee and the clouds seem to settle on the Supersitions. Beems of light, the sun peeking through, are still visible from the east but the clouds continue to roll in from the west.

Two hours later I walk along 32nd Street with Sirena, and we discuss the latest events at Transylvania and Club Hell in Phoenix, and she tells me of her latest experiences go-go dancing for the Phoenix goths. She tells me more stories about parking in a lot and walking past Amsterdam’s in her go-go outfit and all the gay bois out on the street telling her how gorgeous she looks.

We stop and each take a deep breath of the Phoenix air, and it no longer taste of jet fuel from Sky Harbor, but rather the warm, salty essence of a storm rolled in from the west coast. She says “Fisherman’s Wharf” at the same time that I say “SOMA” (South of Market), and we both agree the air taste of San Francisco.

And I enjoy the Phoenix storm, the lightning in the morning and the salty air, and we walk back into our building and continue our work, waiting for the next opprotunity to ditch the indoors and go skipping in puddles of water, down the street as the trucks roar pass and the airplanes come overhead.

Hodori (Korean Restaurant) – Tempe

Hodori has the best Korean food in the Valley and challenges some of the best (Woo Lae Oak) I have had, period. Located on Dobson (behind the Oregano’s) it is not for the Pei Wei crowd. This is real, no compromises, Korean food and it is good. Last night, we had the Bi Bim Bap, which came with the rice off to the side. I guess I was supposed to mix the rice in, but decided to leave it out and have it as a salad. Brilliant, on a hot summer evening. The rest of the meal was as stellar. Do not go here for the atmosphere or service. But if you understand and appreciate Korean food, this place is for you.

Arizona has the most beautiful sunsets


Aluminum versus Vinyl

When Chris was talking about her window replacements, it got me thinking. When we first moved here and got our house I never knew why aluminum windows were so popular here. Are they better heat tolerant than other materials? Back in San Francisco, they were popularly vinyl, and I preferred them over aluminum because they looked prettier and appeared sturdier.

I was taken aback with aluminum when one of them had to be replaced. To our unfortunate luck, the actual wood framing of the window was not perfectly square which made the new replacement pretty difficult to install. The guy nonchalantly banged that aluminum to mold to the shape of the mishapen rectangular window frame. Once he cracked the window because of his intense banging with a rubber mallet so he had to order a replacement of the replacement. The second time, he chipped the double glass pane with his makeshift screwdriver window tool and tried to hide it. Very professional. Then the last time, a different guy installed it but the window’s locking mechanisms weren’t as secure as we would have hoped. Do I need to say that I had a very bad first impression with aluminum windows because of this experience? So my question again is why aluminum? Will vinyl melt in Arizona? So much to learn… Sigh…

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