Friday, July 31, 2009

But I was cool, man....

The problem is that I wasn't. Cool. We have been having a very hot summer here in the mountains. I finally decided to Do Something about it and bought a portable air conditioner, for the kitchen, which is where the heat likes to collect. Mind you, I'll only need to use the dang thing a couple of months of the year, at most. And not every day. Which is why the portable machine instead of a more or less permanent window unit. I like to save my windows for 1) light, 2) the view and 3) fresh air. Oh yes, and the occasional photograph.

Of course, it has thoroughly cluttered up the room, not to mention the giant worm breathing out my window. (But I am cool!) And not to mention my dithering while I tried to figure out the instructions. Oh, for a world in which one can buy a product and simply turn it on -- wasn't it like that once upon a time way back in the G.O.D. (Good Old Days)?

To top it all off, would you believe it's completely operated by a remote? Honest Injun -- no buttons, no dials, no switches. I am truly living in the 21st Century. I should have already become used to the magic wand approach with my bedroom radio (below), which, though it has a few buttons for a child-size finger, is primarily operated by a remote. Of course, I am not touching that dial, because there isn't one. What kind of radio is that? But it is pretty cool to be able to turn down the #2 Brandenburg just before I drop off to sleep, without getting out of bed.

Lots of Links: Speaking of media, nobody appears to have picked up the tale of the young public radio journo up in the Alaskan hinterlands who blogged her true feelings about the town where she works, but didn't have the common sense to hide her/the town's identities. How about an interesting blog that features great microscopic pictures of plant parts and critters; a particularly neat sequence follows the development of butterfly eggs. And another that collects dumb and dumber themes and tests from modern classrooms; a classic is the tale of how George Clooney saved the USA. Last, but by no means least, videos of the Cybraphon, an emotionally responsive automatic "orchestra" created by a bunch of Scotch artists. You know that they have to be Scotch because when the Cybraphon makes music, it includes a drone, just like bagpipes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Handsome rug from ????

So: is this rug I so admire (from a recent arts/crafts show on the Square) a Zapotec jaguar from Mexico or possibly another beastie entirely from Thailand? I trust you, too, will admire it while you ponder your answer. I, in turn, am heading back to my kitchen to ponder the mysterious overseas Asian-English instructions which accompanied my new portable air conditioner. With any luck, I may be cooler tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Interlude at Goldwater Lake

The city of Prescott operates three parks at three local lakes: Watson, Willow and Goldwater. While the dotter and GD were here from Alaska, we ventured out to Goldwater, which is in the national forest, unlike the other two, and therefore cooler, being at a higher elevation.

I stand amended; we visited Upper Goldwater Lake. Lower Goldwater, which furnishes some of the city's water, is below the dam and verboten to the public. I've never even caught a glimpse of it.

Not surprisingly, the lake draws picnickers, even on a week day.

There's a fire ring for small crowds.

The rental boat man was not on hand the day we visited. Too bad. (The kids rented a paddle boat at Lynx Lake later in the week.)

Three other canoe tie-ups belong to area camps. (Looks like a "crowd" in this picture, right? Actually, this was by far the most people I noted at any time during our midday visit.)

Relaxing while she supervises summer campers learning the ins and outs of the vessels, the buff young lady in the foreground is the canoe instructor,

An empty camp chair sits ready for its fisher-person. The city lakes are stocked on a regular basis.

And, yes, the granddotter got thoroughly wet; if she hadn't, I would have worried.

One of her discoveries: a crawdad which had been chowing down on a nearby dead fish. BTW, crayfish are high on the not wanted here list per AZ Game and Fish; of course, they are everywhere there's permanent water.

Other lake critters: a pair of mallards.

A dotter shot of grasses in or beside the shore; she's always admired the beauty of simple grasses.

Just as I could not resist including this series of water pictures. Lovely mixtures of blues and greens,. Hope you agree.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am the very model of...

When I took pictures of a recent display at the downtown public library, I did not realize what a Big Thing modelling had become. However, shortly thereafter, the Sson arrived, spending nearly an hour every night perusing the model kits on eBay and talking about the ins and outs of the world of scale modelling. Like everything else, it has been transformed by the Internet from a local, ideosyncratic pasttime to a international activity (and marketplace).

In olden times, retired seamen might spend their declining years creating one beautiful schooner inside a glass jar. When I was young, my brother made balsa wood and tissue paper airplanes from kits. Before long, model railroading became a major passion for overgrown boys, culminating in layouts that occupy entire backyards (or more).

Today, apparently there are kits for almost any kind of vehicle, though military equipment predominates. Understandable -- I suspect that it's a lot more challenging to model a lean and mean aircraft carrier, as compared to one of Princess Cruises' posh floating hotels.

Military certainly predominated at the Yavapai Scale Modelers exhibit, tho there were the racing machines above and even some classic autos below. Even a nod to the more mundane -- one SUV pulling an motor boat, likely headed to the nearest lake.

Plus this robotic guy, there to let everybody know that I haven't seen the latest important SF movie or otherwise I'd know his name/serial number. My first guess is that he's a Transformer. If you are an incipient scale modeller, you can connect to the local club by clicking on this link and scrolling to the bottom of the page. There were far too many modelling blogs for me to pick the best two or three; if you're interested, go to The Google and see for yourself.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Trees on the ridgeline

A tree standing alone against the horizon is an evocative image. Better when it is high on the ridgeline. (Very likely a juniper.)
Or perhaps a pinon pine. The junipers and pinons grow in drier conditions and thus are more likely to stand out as individuals.

However, I really admire the chutzpah of these trees somehow locating enough soil and water to prosper in a crack in all that solid granite over in the Dells!

More tree shapes outlined against the sky.

It took friend Bob's steadier hand to capture the Ponderosa pines at the top of Granite Mountain in these extreme zooms. (I tried, my hands shook -- and I tossed the dreadful results!) That's why most easy ridgeline shots do not include Ponderosa pines! Furthermore, our Ponderosas tend to grow in forests where individual trees do not stand out, unless there are many huge boulders separating them (above, below).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Granite Dells nostalgia

As a kid, I thought that a trip from Phoenix up to Prescott meant a trip to the Granite Dells, specifically the wonderful swimming pool/lake in the rocks where our extended family picnicked several times in the 30s. I was surprised to see that the bathhouse was gussied up when the dotter drove me through the Dells a couple of weeks ago, but later I heard assorted rumors that the resort was going to reopen as a private club, followed by yet another rumor that Dells residents had squashed that idea. Out of nostalgia, I'd love to see the pool re-opened, but not if I'm not invited.

What is surprising is that the diving boards and hand rails are still evident; I would have expected time to have taken its toll. The resort was closed in 1970 when the Payne family, the founders/owners, retired.

Prescott old-timer LindaG has posted not just postcard views, but also family pictures that date from the G.O.D. (Good Old Days) when this Dells resort enjoyed 70,000 visitors per year. The Santa Fe even made a special stop, morning and evening. Prescott Daily Photo also recently showed pictures of the area taken from inside the gate. Further: there was a Prescott Photo Walk last weekend in the Dells; I'd be curious if any pictures were taken of the old facility.

As a post script, we spotted this crunched cabin right next to the old bathhouse. Futher inspection revealed that a big, fat cottonwood had fallen over the little structure, possibly a long time ago.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Horsies -- junkyard & otherwise

How's this for a bad dream: to be offered my choice of one of those t. rex sculpts you can see out on Iron Springs Road -- or one of Gene Galazan's junkyard horses. I'm sure I would dither and dither until the genie or wizard gave up on me and withdrew the offer.

However, the point of this post is that finally the granddotter had a chance for a close look at the equine pair over at Prescott College. As I may have mentioned in the past, the little one is absolutely besotted by horsies. Has been, for years.

She definitely liked the Galazan critters. I'm pleased -- she's not a stickler for realism as so many kids are.

Unfortunately, she missed out on Shingles, over at the True Value hardware emporium. Just goes to show that you can find one of almost anything at a proper hardware store! And, yes, I'd settle for Shingles if offered.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hard times at the mall

Our Thursday breakfast crew ate at Zeke's yesterday, which was a good occasion to update the economic situation at the Frontier Village Mall. You will note that the business headliners, as of this week, are the big American Home furnishings store and Basha's.

Unfortunately, the cherry picker machine was on hand to remove the Basha's sign, as the store is now official closed.

But then, it's been some months since Amerian Home closed out its big facility, which remains empty.

Another empty. That sign? The pop psychologists would call it denial. On the other hand, maybe it's been changed. I wouldn't count on it.

Loads of links: After a long hiatus, Steve Ayres is back with his curmudgeonly Courier Watch; if you want further local curmudgeonly comment, you might visit Tom Steele's The Truth Prescott Valley. The Yavapai Digital Foto Club is showing pictures from its recent PhotoWalk on its blog; if you're curious about that part of the Dells behind the community gates, try this Flickr set. How about some history: The News from 1930, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Fantasy, such as Sense & Sensibility & the Sea Monsters. Or absolutely awesome garage trompe d'oeil.
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