Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter storm, lifting...

Yesterday morning--woke up to snow halfway down our 'backyard'-mountains...
...even a rainbow! ("snow-bow"?):

...just outside of Sabino Canyon

...storm still lingering in Bear Canyon...

...Santa Catalina mountains, covered in snow...

...the last of the rainbow...

...hummingbird resting below Finger Rock

...panorama, looking SW over the Tucson mountains to the distant snow-capped high desert...

...and for the first time in a year-and-a-half, the local Rillito river is actually flowing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

...a rainy week here in Tucson...

...out-of-town friends stayed with us this past weekend; we introduced them to our local Gaslight Theatre, Sonoran hot dogs, the ruins in Tumacácori, the 'artsy village' of Tubac, and local Peruvian food. Hoo-boy.


Last week, I finally took my wife to go see the film Avatar.
AMAZING special effects--but also remarkable, if you scratch the hyped 3-D surface: its profound pessimism.

How interesting that for the first time in decades,
a special-effects blockbuster does not end up with humanity saving the earth,
but with humans turning on their own kind in order to save something else--an almost-lost paradise of sorts.
So different from humans (almost always Americans) saving the earth from aliens or meteors, or finding a medical way to 'reverse' mutant-zombies.
An uncomfortable result of the film is that the crowds end up cheering against themselves--
against the bad-guys, which are the evil earthlings. The only 'good' earthlings are the ones who 'go native'...

What's the reaction from gung-ho military-types, I wonder?
Yes, yes, there is the irony that the director and studio are making millions (over a billion already!) due to a film with an anti-capitalist message.
No one's crying 'treason,' but...
The film's not subtle by any means...but it's not 'stupid' either; it's rich in allusions to myth, literature, religion, and film...
Anyway. Click here for an interesting CNN article about Avatar 'blues'--seriously.

This past Sunday--opened up the paper--aha! published again; my cheap photo-thrill: click here for the link to the local Tucson paper's 'outdoor' feature with my photo...


...can't post without mentioning last week's earthquake in Haiti, and the continuing chaotic suffering down there...Here in Tucson we know a couple of Haitian families who've been glued to their phones,
trying to contact relatives and friends...
''Disaster-fatigue" can sometimes set in, but, man...

( here for a partially insightful NYTimes column on Haiti;

I don't agree with everything in the column, but such questions should be asked...)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

...from Joshua Tree National Park...& instant language

As I said in yesterday's posting, here are a few photos from this past weekend's drive through Joshua Tree National Park:

...Joshua trees framing Mt. San Gorgonio (11503 ft.), highest pt. in southern CA.

...driving through...

--view over the Coachella valley and the mountains behind Palm Springs,CA, looking SW from Keys View overlook in the National Park. The superimposed arrows show the movement of the San Andreas fault, which is visible in the middle of the photo as a couple of darker low ridges between the arrows. The peak on the right is 10834' Mt. San Jacinto.


Have any of you seen Avatar, the recent 3-D blockbuster? I was a bit reluctant, but then I saw it during the school-break. (I went to a 9:30 a.m. matinee to avoid seeing any of my students at the mall...) Not since Jurassic Park first came out in the early 1990's have I seen a film's special effects be so visually engrossing.

Incidentally, a linguist from USC was hired to invent a new, linguistically-sound 'authentic' language for the 10-ft-tall blue humanoid dwellers of the moon Pandora. (Remember 'Klingon?')

This L.A. Times article was fascinating.
My wife's not yet seen the film, so we plan to go tonight.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1051 desert miles:
Joshua- and Palm- trees... 'eating parties'...

Crazy distances out here in the American SW--crazy amount of miles just for a three-day 'weekend' (1051 miles, from Tucson to the L.A. area and back), and 40 miles EACH WAY for Saturday-night dinner: freeway-dependence.

Then, getting back to Tucson late Sunday night...obligatory 'bright-eyed' morning for Monday@work: ay ay ay...On the way there on Friday, we drove through the surreal landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park...and on the way back day before yesterday, through the equally-surreal landscapes of Palm Springs and the surrounding 'desert cities...'

Alas, no "Korean tacos" (see this trip...times and locations did not intersect with our itinerary in the L.A. area...But, we did have ethnic 'eating parties,' as my mother (who was with us) refers to occasions when 'different' or 'special'  foods are present:
...haven't had time to upload yet, but photos coming soon...

Meanwhile, a couple of things from the NYTimes yesterday and today: 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

cross-cultural lunch-time reading

...from our former home (Seattle),
from today's NY Times,
this article (click to read).
United Tastes
A City’s Specialty, Japanese in Name Only

Tucson has its Sonoran hot-dogs (click for another NY Times article) and cheese-crisps...
L.A. now has its famous Korean-taco-trucks. (click here!)
(We hope to go there this Friday!)
and Seattle: "teriyaki."
To that, I would add pho--so common in Puget Sound...
and, fortunately, present here in southern AZ as well...