Thursday, November 30, 2006

Construction Zone

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Peaceable Kingdom

I saw this wonderful car in front of the Tucson Children's Museum and was taking pictures when the owner walked up. Fortunately he proved to be a genial man who was patient with my curiosity. The car is a Citroen, built in the 1950's. The painting of the outside was done by a previous owner who was an artist. The current owner refurbished the the inside which looks very cool also. Its not his main car and starting it can take a little patience. He had recently been interviewed by the local newspaper and his car may appear in their features section this week.

But its in my blog first!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Slouching Up Sixth Street....

Soon to change its name to 6th Street, the Old Nogales Hwy between Drexler and Irvington turned out to be a very long stretch so I'm going to do the South half of it this week and the North half next week.

In the parking lot of the 99c Bargain Warehouse there was this truck advertising seafood, doing steady business even at 9am. The tire shop up the street came with its very own pitbull guard dog, wandering around loose in front of the entrance. And amid all the dust and weeds there was something like the gateway below.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Will It Stay or Will It Go?

The gazebo at La Placita. The gazebo was built in 1955 to represent Tucson's Mexican heritage and is located in a very pleasant tree-lined plaza that itself dates from about 1854. La Plaza de la Mezilla was the departure point for wagon trains leaving Tucson for La Mesilla, New Mexico, then the territorial capital.

The wagon trains were the lifeline for Tucson at that time when all goods going in or out of the then village came in by wagon trains, a dangerous enterprise as they were often attacked on the way to New Mexico by Apaches. La Plaza de la Mesilla was the center of life in Tucson when it was still culturally, if not politically, a Mexican village.

To many native Tucsonans, the gazebo and plaza are remnants of a Mexican cultural heritage that has been steadily destroyed over the last 150 or so years. The destruction of the Barrio Viejo in the 1960's to build the Tucson Convention Center (and gentrification of La Placita) is still a bitter memory to longtime residents and in their minds the gazebo is symbol of that lost barrio. More
on the gazebo controversy here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Barrio Street Scene

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Playing With Filters No. 1

A scene from La Placita, difference cloud filter.

I had this photo, really liked the lines, the diagonals and the depth but it wasn't right somehow so I was trying random filters on it, trying to decide to give up on it and all of a sudden this appeared. Personally I love it, credit goes to Photoshop. I wish I knew enough to come up with something like this by design instead of by accident.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Images from Downtown No. 1

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Trash Day in Barrio Historico

Trash pickup is rather efficient in Tucson, once a week, the city provides these large containers. I like this note of goofy individual expression is an otherwise dull process. The blue container is for recycling.

Yesterday was a long tramatic, complicated day which resulted in the end in a tired, mentally exhausted me just going to bed without putting up a photo.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

If Its Tuesday, This Must Be...

Two images from the block of Old Nogales Highwy (soon to become S. 6th St) from Bilby to Dexel. There are trucks, like the one for sale here, that you see in a lot of places around Tucson, parked temporarily in parking lots selling Mexican food. In my experience the food is usually very good, more like "real" Mexican food than something like Taco Bell (a fast food chain). I experienced my one and only taco made from cow brains at a mobile Mexican restaurant. Also posole, sopa des albondigas, tortas and tacos made from a variety of things surprising to Anglos.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Waiting in Line

At the drivethru, you can guess which one. Another reason to start riding my bike again. Maybe I'll do a training for the Tour blog starting with me now, flabby and out of shape.

By the way the, the top women's finisher in the Tour de Tucson, a Candian named Alex Wrubleski, finished less than 4 minutes behind the men's winner. I think that's pretty terrific.

And totally unrelated but check out this about an amateur photographer who got really close taking a picture of lightning. Someone posted about it on an elist I belong to. Wow.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Later in the morning at a different location than my first photo and farther back in the pack, I saw these folks, climbing a steep hill with varying degrees of distress. Riders who were actually competing to win would of course never put something on top of their helmets but I saw more and more of this kind of whimsy later in the race.

This year about 8,200 people rode in the Tour de Tucson. Of that number about 5,000 rode in the 109 mile race while the rest did races of 80, 67, 33 and 4 miles. It is truly a community event though it also attracts Olympic and internationally rated cyclists.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tour de Tucson Bike Race

My alarm went off this morning and it was still dark out. I thought *#^@& - its just a bike race, just a bunch of pictures of the same thing, people on bikes, forget it, wanna go back to sleep. So I turned off the alarm clock and went back to bed. And started thinking about where I could park where I had planned to watch the race and where the light would be coming from at that hour of the morning and in the end I got up.

And went and took photos and it was fun. It was exciting waiting and then seeing the first rider come over the hill and the first pack (phaeton?) of riders and then cheering them on. Especially the later more recreational riders who loved the cheers and cow bells and homemade signs, just soaked it up like brand new celebrities on their first red carpet. As they should have and you had to love them for it. Bravo Tour riders!

For more on the Tour de Tucson, a general article here and an entertaining account of actually being in the race here.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Water Wall and Surly Rabbit

If I were a child, I'd want to feel the water running down the wall and run my fingers over the shapes sticking out. As an adult I stood there and thought the wall was kinda cool.

If I were a child the rabbit bench might seem silly or funny or scary or I might just want to climb on top of it but as an adult I thought of Alice in Wonderland and took photos.

From the entrance to the Children's Discovery Garden at the Tucson Botanical Garden.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Metamorphosis du Jour

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Butterflies at the Tucson Botanical Gardens

Butterflies in the greenhouse at the Botanical Gardens, a fund-raiser special event lasting until February. The butterflies were raised in sanctioned butterfly farms in "Costa Rica, Southeast Asia and other tropic locations", shipped in the chrysalis or pupal stage and raised to emergence at the gardens and then released into the greenhouse. It was hot and very humid in the greenhouse but fun trying to get photos.

The top one is called (at least in English) a Paper Kite (Idea luconoe), the bottom one is a Great Mormon (Papilio memnon). Both are Asian.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gaby's Music and Dulceria

I thought it might be interesting, to pick a stre
et in Tucson and every week put up a photo from it, block by block. So on Tuesdays from now on for quite a while (its a long street) there will be a photo from 6th street. I picked that street because it gives a good cross section of Tucson, moving from south to north. Not a definitive cross section - probably no one street could do that - but a fascinating one I think. At least the street is, I have no idea if the photos will be or not.

So I'm starting at the south end, really outside the Tucson city limits, but I think this is area is part of what makes Tucson what it is. The street is actually called the Old Nogales Highway at this point. Today's block is between Valencia and Bilby, photos taken this morning. The building and sky really are that blue.

Please check out Mary's excellent blog, Manhattan Street Project, which made me want to try something of a similar nature.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fall Reflection

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Shrine of Santa Rita in Vail, AZ

The bell tower of the Shrine of Santa Rita taken this fine evening. Santa Rita is the saint of impossible causes, the saint of those utterly without power who are abused by those having it. She is the patron saint of damaged wives and children, of those abused by men in authority in God's name.

Vail is a little town located just east of Tucson. There are Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson where the Santa Rita Abbey (a trappist nunery) is located near Sonoita. I enjoyed reading the Abbey journal. It is quite descriptive of some aspects of rural life in southeastern Arizona.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Caber T- o- s- s! / __

Cabers vary considerably but on average they weight about 150 lbs (68 kgs) and are 18 ft (5.5m) long. More here. Photos from Celtic Festival here in Tucson.

Friday, November 10, 2006

All Souls Procession

See here for the official website.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All Souls Procession

When I think of the experience of being part of the All Souls Parade, I hear the drums that were the heartbeat of it all. They started out at a sedate walking pace and gradually got faster, louder, more jazzy. At one point we went underneath an underpass and in that small space it was like you could feel them pulsing in your bones.

All Soul's seemed to me in some ways quintessentially Tucsonan. There was no registration, no rules except local laws. People just showed up in costumes, some quite elaborate, that they made themselves to honor their dead. It seemed to me to have roots from a lot of different influences - the latin Dia de los Muertos, the more Anglo Halloween, Madi Gras. It is a celebration by the living of people who were loved and who died. Its been held for 17 years, just a few people at first but now thousands.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

I got a call from Laura Bush this morning, a recorded message urging me to vote Republican. Laura Bush is the wife of the President and we are having an election in the US today. On a national level, many members of Congress are up for re-election but this election is widely seen as a referendum on George Bush's government and the Iraqi war.

Please vote if you want to say no to the war, the corruption, the tax cuts for the wealthy, the attack on our freedoms.

The photo is from the All Souls Parade, a non-political event.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Four Shillings Short

This is Christy Martin of Four Shillings Short who is American born. She and her husband, Aodh Og O Tuama who is Irish, play a diverse combination of Celtic, blues, East Indian, Medival and American folk music. I bought one of their albums, its wonderful.

When I walked into the tent where they were playing, I was wondering what the lovely Irish instrument was that sounded so much like a sitar. As it turns out it was a sitar, which she was playing in this case to accompany a traditional Irish folk song. On their albums, she also plays Indian ragas. She studied sitar with Ravi Shankar and also plays mandolin, dulcimer, mandola, bodhran, banjo and guitar.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pipers and Photographer Guy

You have to know he was shooting down through a long line of bagpipers. Sometimes I envy the professionals their opportunities (and their cameras).

I had an amazing time at the All Souls Parade tonight and it was quite a surprise to discover some of the pipers from the yesterday's Celtic Festival at tonight's parade - with skelton painted faces. I have photos of some of the same people from both events.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Clown in a Kilt

Today was the Tucson Celtic Festival. There were pipe bands, highland games, music, dance, games and inflated castles for the kids, clan tents and a parade of clans, stuff sold, even Border Collie sheep herding and this clown making balloon animals with great good humor all day. So many men in kilts :), so many bagpipers - who knew there were that many in Arizona. I heard bagpipes all day no matter what else was going on.

I took a gazillion photos. Which leaves me as usual trying to pick 1 or even 2 or 3 or 4 out of hundreds. While I really like the daily photo, one photo, taken that day more or less model and think it produces excellent blogs, it just isn't what I can do with this kind of material. So I've just decided to go with my particular (somewhat erratic) flow - i.e one photo daily taken at some festival or other this fall. So there will be on various days men tossing the caber, dogs herding sheep, an Irish musician playing the sittar and also glass blowers, masks, pottery, dancers of all kinds, an All Souls Parade that I'm going to tomarrow night, The Tour de Tucson bike race in few weeks and a whole lot else.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The photo is of the Main Branch of the Tucson Public Library. Currently there is a controversy about computer use at the libraries. For people who can't afford to own a computer, the dozen or so branches of the library are the place to go and are heavily used. Some people are accessing pornography and others find that objectionable. More here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Almost Show Time

Almost time for the parade of Latin American dress. They look pretty nervous but everything went fine.

Check out Rudy's excellent Antigua Guatemala blog for recent posts about Dia de los Difuntos and Dia de los Santos - find it here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

A holiday with a 3,000 year old history, recognizing the ephemeral nature of life and and the continuity of family. Perhaps life is just a dream we share with those we love both the living and the dead. See here for about Dia de los Muertos.

Decorating skull candy at the Latin American festival (above) and muertos tile murals by Las Artes (below).