Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ode to 118 degrees



I was aware of this when I agreed to move to this fair city in the desert.  This is the Sonoran desert after all, the same latitude and altitude as the Northern Sahara for those needing a point of reference.  Despite all of the super irrigated and lush lawns full of citrus trees this is still an area that averages extreme temperatures and and average annual rain fall under 9 inches.

This heat is different.  Strangely enough there is a difference between 103 and 109 and there is also a difference between 109 and 117.  At 105 or 109 you can still get away with working outside, shade still offers refuge.  At 117 the heat is thick, even in the shade.  You look outside and plants look fatigued, brown, and weak.  The bright sun only illuminates a weary and browning landscape.  The family of quail in our neighborhood seeks refuge deep within the jasmine that I keep moist.

So I will deal with this heat wave.  I will huddle indoors in a sluggish state of survival.  I will repeatedly remind myself of how nice it is in February.  And I will wonder why the heck we didn't arrange to be in San Diego.

We should have known better.  Ah.....Phoenix.





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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Introducing Bite Sized Phoenix






It's no secret that I'm a glutton for ....well, gluttony.  I take up any chance to get out and sample some new cuisine in the burgeoning and ever impressive Phoenix dining scene.  As much as I enjoy Yelp I wanted to put my own stamp on my fair city.

Enter Bite Sized Phoenix.  The idea is to provide a precise, twitter-like experience for those wanting to explore the culinary options of the greater Phoenix area.  I don't have any grand aspirations for the site other then an outlet to document my experiences in a medium that gives me a little more creative possibility.  It is still a work in progress but it is starting to take shape.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Excessive Sociality

Pardon me while I wipe the dust off my blog. In this age of 140 characters, likes, and instagram there seemingly isn't much room for expansive thought and paragraphs.  I'm not alone as a quick perusal of most blogs that I usually follow reveals that mine isn't the only one resembling an unkept corner on the web.

Why?

Do we no longer have the attention span or fortitude to actually see our thoughts through.  Perhaps.  The new portals of social media seem to be a kudzu strangling the life from the once verdant blog landscape.  Alas, the 'Dude' is one of those now on life support.

This is what it has to cope with.

  1. Twitter- It is so much easier to write in 140 characters instead of going through the effort to develop a thought.
  2. Facebook- Tough to compete with that ecosystem.  I remember joining that thing early on when it was nothing more then a playground of a few thousand college kids.  No, carried on the backs of a billion house wives, it is the 800 pound gorilla that has become the de facto clearing house for anything online.
  3. Linked In- Yes, even this business networking tool takes time away from the beloved blog.  The groups function provide relevant forums that typically hone in on special interests better then the looser network of the blogosphere.
  4. Vine- Pictures now?
  5. Instagram- Now that we are literally carrying a couple cameras with us at all times it only makes sense that we have a convenient way to post everything.
  6. Pinterest- Not much experience here either but a force to be reckoned with.
  7. Yelp- We can't even eat without feeling compelled to tell the world about it.

So we see that all of these and others have been slowly chipping away at whatever free time we have to devote to the grandfather of social media, the blog.  And just like our grandparents they will be relegated to only occasional visits  a sporadic fits of nostalgia.
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Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Curious Case of the Growing Night Stand


The problem with Amazon.com is the sheer depth of offerings and the ease at which one can make a purchase. Combine that with a scatterbrained mind and you have a recipe for a tower of books on top of my night stand that is getting babelesque. 

Here is what I currently have in the active queue.

  1. The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle- This came with such a high recommendation from Jason Hansen that I was willing to over look the Oprah accolades.  I'm still just a few chapters in but I feel like he does a good job of bringing Eastern thought to a western audience.  We live in such tumultuous and distracting times that we rarely reach the inner peace that Eckhart talks about.
  2. The Revolution, Ron Paul- The more I take into account my political thinking the more the Libertarian platform resonates.  This book was loaned to me by my Camelback hiking buddy, Chris West.  I will always value liberty and individuality and I am often perplexed by people who think that Government needs to be the answer to so many things.
  3. Around the Roman Table, Patrick Faas- I love Roman history and I love the culinary arts.  This is the perfect marriage.  While I will never be a huge fan of Garum I do enjoy reading about the role that food played throughout Roman history.  There are even some recipes in there for those bold enough to recreate a Roman dinner.
  4. Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon- I had an earlier version of this book when I was a kid and in love with the archeology of the Toltecs, Olmecs, and Maya.  While I don't ever feel that there will be enough archeology to ever convince the skeptic of the veracity of the Book of Mormon I do enjoy reading about history of the region and the similarities between the Book and recorded history and archeological evidence.
  5. On Grattitude, Todd Jensen- This is from a cherished cousin.  Todd interviews celebrities for a living and over the course of several years he has captured their expressions of gratitude.  They range from truly heartfelt to somewhat odd.
  6. Mexifornia, Victor Davis Hanson- I am often perplexed out how complicated we have made what should be a rather straightforward issue, immigration.  Hanson creates an interesting narrative based on his experience growing up and living in Central California.  He has some interesting points and observations but I wish he would have provided more science and statistics to back up his assertions.
  7. Road to Serfdom, FA Hayek- The bible for those who believe in political freedom and hate centrally planned economies.  His book sprang out of his observations from Europe leading up to and just after World War II.  I have just started this book but, based on the wide ranging opinions for good and bad, it should be an interesting read.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Two halves of the country...what if I don't belong to either?


So we sit back and watch as pundits simplify the process into neat segments of the voting population.The loser gives the same old speech about overcoming a hard fought battle and unifying the country to move forward.  The victor follows and gives essentially the same tired speech.  It's all rhetoric because we all know how divided this country is and how little this dysfunctional government can accomplish.

I'm jaded.  I lean Republican but I am very disappointed with how they posture and ignore and miscalculate issues like immigration, defense, income inequality, and science.  I typically don't lean towards Democratic issues because I don't believe that the Government can and should to to interfere in most economic, social, and welfare issues.  Despite that I did inspired by the message shared by Obama in 08', enough so that I even wrote about it here.

Here we are four years later and those once great speeches about Hope and Change now ring hollow.  Under his leadership the only things that have really grown are fingerpointing, debt, and division.  Sure the economy, mainly reflected in the stock market, is doing better then 08' but how could it not?  Also, there is nothing that tells me we have long term prospects for growth. The man who was supposed to transcend the political malaise has become just another mudslinger except with super cool Hollywood sycophants.

But the blame isn't solely with the people wearing the blue ties.  The obstructionist, stop it at all costs Republican party blew their chance to make a case to a weary people.  Many folks, due to the circumstances, were ready to listen to a feasible alternative.  All you gave us was a message hijacked by the Evangelicals and Tea Party wing of the party.  You have done a horrible job articulating a conservative and federalist alternative to big government.  You have isolated huge groups of the population with views that are out of date (i.e. Immigration, Climate Change)  Your rigid stance on Moral issues such as Gay Marriage puts the next generation of voters further out of reach.  In short you've created a huge loser by refusing to even compromise on some issues to get work done.

I know that I am not alone in being jaded with both parties.  Both are corrupted, bloated, and beguiled by powerful special interests.  Both parties speak empty words to disguise their corruption. I yearn for a third way. The closest alternative for me is the Libertarian party.  If we can get enough people to push for a third alternative maybe we can send some kind of shock to Washington.  The decay back there is so rancid that it will only take something radical to be the real Change that has alluded Mr. Obama.

I love America but I absolutely hate the direction that she has been taken.


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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Family (Sept 2012)



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Monday, September 03, 2012

Raising our Arizona IQ

We've made an effort to explore all of the nooks and crannies of this the Grand Canyon state but the birth of Charlie put these visits on a temporary hold.  Now that he is up running we decided to see some new country.  In this chapter we visited friends in the remote dusty Northeast corner of the state to the small pioneer community of St. Johns.

Along the way we enjoyed the mountain and pine laden community of Greer.  This area was recently ravaged by the Wallow fire but fortunately most of the rugged area that we explored remained untouched.  I would stack this area up with the best of the Uintah's, Yellowstone, or Wind Rivers. 

We also spent some time in Eagar, which is the community right where the high plains meet the White Mountains.  While not as beautiful as the are between Greer and Pinetop it was still a welcome sight from our desert doldrums.

Most of the time was spent in St. Johns.  Not much to see there other then an appreciation for the hearty pioneer and Mexican stock that founded it and continue to populate it to this day.  On a clear day you can see well into the Navajo nation and the area that was part of the famed Route 66.

Greer was the definite highlight and we already have some plans to return and perhaps stay at the famed Molly Butler lodge.  The country is spectacular, the living simple and easy, and the weather well worth the drive.  Here's to getting up on the Mogollon rim.

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