Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Arizona Coffee Blog Turns 4

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/4014438[/vimeo]

The Arizona Coffee Blog celebrates it’s fourth year of reviewing the best and not so best coffee shops around Arizona. I met up with Chris Tingom and others in Tempe to celebrate the blogs success and find out what he has planned for it’s future.

(This is a HD embed and best viewed at full screen)

Bringing Video to Phoenix Metblogs

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/3314084[/vimeo]

As I stated in my video, I’m Clintus and I’m the new guy. I’m very excited to finally be able to devote some time to my local Metblogs. I’ve been a big fan of what Sean and Jason have been doing and when I found out there was a Phoenix chapter, I really wanted to get involved. I just feel bad that it’s taken me so long.
Now I won’t give you any expectations of myself as to not disappoint later on; but what I can tell you is that I always have a camera and I’m always trying to capture the little moments around me. If possible, I’ll almost always have a video to go along with my blog posts.

Again, I look forward to sharing my views and experiences within Phoenix and its surrounding areas with you.

Back in the Valley with a few recommedations for the novice golfers

I’ve been back in the Valley for a few months and hopefully can begin regularly posting.

Everyone knows the Phoenix metropolitan area is a fantastic location for golf and we have some of the best courses in the nation (world?).

Those courses are out of my league. :)

I just started playing this summer and realized what a great opportunity Central Phoenix provides to beginning golfers.

I began playing every Monday afternoon at the Encanto executive 9 hole course on 17th Avenue and Encanto. If it isn’t the most unpretentious golf course in the metro area it has to be close. Our foursome usually plays a round in about an hour; a single golfer or a quick pair can play it in 45 minutes. Where else could I take a break from work to play golf in the afternoon?

Summer rates are under $9 for a round and you can replay the course all day for free. It’s a great place for kids and anyone, like myself, doesn’t have the kind of game or the time to justify drop $80 on a round of golf.

Here are some pictures from another blogger.

How are we doing?

On September 1st, a Metblogs founder, Sean Bonner, issued a clarion call for writers to illuminate this fine desert oasis we live in.
Three people answered the call. I was first, then Melinda joined, followed by Elmocho, also known as Chris and my partner. Between the three of us, we have managed to bring some life back to a wonderful resource that was floundering.

We need more help, though. Reply to the original post and come join us. The water is fine. I see, hear, and experience things everyday that I would love to blog about, but I run out of time.

The Valley is a great place to live. It frustrates me that we don’t seem to have the cohesive identity or pride of home that I see in other cities. We have things to do and places to go that are very much unique to the desert, and this is an opportunity to highlight some.

So what would you, the reader, like to see? Leave us a comment and we will make an effort!

Lake Pleasant in June by Chris Seggerman

Lake Pleasant in June by Chris Seggerman

Quote of the Week

Downtown Voices Coalition is a group of about 90 stakeholders that work on issues affecting downtown Phoenix. They had a recent article on their web site about Dwell Magazine naming Phoenix Exurbs such as Verrado and Anthem (I think my home turf of Goodyear counts as well) as some of the “Worst in the US”.

The quote that caught my eye? Unrefinery.com had this to say about the recognition:

We hesitate to even call Phoenix a city; the decentralized home turf of Allied Waste would be best described as a 400-square-mile monument to sprawl, water waste, traffic bottlenecks, and crystal meth. Urban planning sometimes seems esoteric, but Phoenix offers a real-world reminder of why we need it.

Thoughts?

$4 Water = FAIL

My Partner and I did take our 14 year old to Edgefest this weekend, as we planned. It was about what I expected: hot, tiring, no shade, great bands, lots of activities. The food was expensive, but we planned for that. What we did not plan for was that water was $4 a 20-ounce bottle.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not expect free water, but when the temperature is over 100 degrees out, I expect it to be reasonably priced. We ended up not drinking nearly enough, and all told, we calculated that we spent $100 of the $150 we had with us on water and ice. I would love to know how many people they had to treat for dehydration. The Dos Gringos booth had $2 waters for a while, and we bought those until they ran out and started selling the $4 waters. I think my best investment was a $3 iced spray bottle from a vendor. Unfortunately I lost it during the Gogol Bordello show when a crowd surfer fell on me. The joys of an excellent punk show.

We did have a lot of fun, but we learned some things. One of the main things is to not take a slightly geeky 14-year-old near the front of a Flogging Molly concert. Between the mosh pit that started up next to us and the crowd surfers, we could not keep him safe and ended up having to push out of the crowd and escape. The crowd was restless after the shows were delayed by a thunderstorm rolling through. In true Phoenician style, I welcomed the wind and was sad it brought no rain to cool things off.

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Handstraps Hoist Commuter Crowds

I have ridden Valley Metro’s Rapid line for more than two years. I take the I-17 Route, but the Rapid lines handle most of the freeways from various Park and Rides to downtown. Last week I noticed a new thing: handstraps of nylon bolted between compartments of the upper luggage rack.

Rapid buses look a little different than the average city street bus: Almost all the seats face forward, two to a row on either side of the center aisle. Two benchlike seats that can each hold about three people face towards the center aisle by the rear door. These can be folded up for wheelchair mounting. Behind that, there’s a little elevated area with more forward-facing seats. There are about six seats along the very back of the bus.

But that’s it. I don’t think they expected people standing in the center aisle. But we do!
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Thirsty at the Home Show

Many would say that the falling stock market, the increase in violence at home and abroad, the rising unemployment rate and the sheer multitude of natural disasters in the last few years are signs of the end of the world. While I do find those things alarming what really scares me is what I saw this past weekend at the Maricopa County Home and Garden Show….a deserted beer booth.

 It is a sad state of affairs when an average American cannot afford to buy a beer at a community event. I actually watched as one man walked up to the booth with hope in his eyes and asked, “How much for a beer?” and the woman behind the counter replied, “Seven dollars.” The poor man simply shook his head and walked away.

I was at the show working a booth for my employer, talking to people about ways to conserve energy and decrease their electric bill. There were not that many people at the event. I haven’t seen exact figures of attendance but I would be surprised if it was anywhere near the number of people who attended last year. Someone mentioned they had wanted to buy a large outdoor grill but that they weren’t able to finance it. Scary stuff. It’s one thing when these issues are a national problem and can be viewed from a distance. It’s another thing to see the effects of the economic crisis when it shows up at your front door.

An Urban Affair – Explore Downtown

If you aren’t living in the heart of the city you might be wondering why other people choose to. Ten years ago the idea that young professionals, artists, and dare I say it – even hipsters – would be living in Central Phoenix was laughable at best. In retrospect it would now be considered prophetic. As more and more people move downtown and more businesses open to cater to them it’s becoming clear – Phoenix is on its way to becoming a great city to live in.

Still skeptical? You may want to check out Urban Affair this weekend. It opens Friday, Sept 26th, at the Phoenix Art Museum. It goes from 6 – 10 p.m. and features performances by Arizona Opera, Scorpius Dance Theatre, and other local musicians. There will be a progressive tasting menu highlighting local restaurants like Cibo, The Art of Soup, Breadfruit, and Urban Cookies. Tickets start at $30. If you want to feel like a rock star you can spring for a VIP ticket for $75 which includes a host bar.

If you’re like me and feel that $30 is a little pricey don’t dismay – here are my low or no cost suggestions for checking out the city this weekend: (more…)

Loco for Local – Janet and The Art of Soup

Hi everyone! I’m the new blogger on the block and so happy to be here. I’m a resident of downtown and for the last year or so I’ve done my best to frequent local businesses and leave the big box chain places in the dust. For the most part it’s worked – I haven’t seen the inside of an Olive Garden in ages, my jewelry collection is the envy of any girl still shopping at the mall instead of at boutiques, and lastly I’ve met so many amazing people. I would say the greatest benefit to living down here is community. I love all the small, independent businesses and their owners are what make them so special.

Janet Van Hinkle  at The Art of Soup is one such owner. They are located in Sheridan Square on 7th Street, next to Drip. I stopped in yesterday for lunch and I came away with so much more. They serve, on average, 4 soups per day and there’s always a vegetarian option. The ingredients are all local and organic. You can order it by the bowl or do a soup “flight”, small portions of 3 soups with the usual accompaniments: multi-grain bread, lavosh, or baguette. The soup was fantastic and the atmosphere was so relaxed. I was the only customer due to the late hour and Janet chatted with me like I was friend having lunch in her kitchen.

She partners with a company called Chef to Chef to bring the same local produce in her soups to the community. You can purchase bags of produce from local farmers at the restaurant weekly. I’m picking up my first bag this weekend so I’ll let you know how that goes!

The Art of Soup will soon be open for breakfast and they are expanding their evening and weekend hours. I give major kudos to Janet for that – most businesses downtown cater to those who commute down here for work rather than those of us who actually reside here. There are many restaurants that are only open during the week and for lunch leaving the residents of downtown with fewer options.

As more people move downtown and the weekend traffic picks up the businesses are beginning to adjust. One by one they are expanding their hours and it’s definitely a sign of better things ahead.

I plan to highlight the local businesses that I frequent as much as possible so stay tuned – Loco for Local will be a regular feature.

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