Photos · · Magdalena de Kino

Hillside Guadalupe

Virgen de Guadalupe painted on a hillside outside of Magdalena de Kino, Sonora.

A Virgen de Guadalupe painted on a hillside overlooks a grove of trees and Mexican Federal Highway 15 outside of Magdalena de Kino, Sonora.

Photos · · Tucson

Princess and Princesses

Jeff and Hiram at Old Main

Princess, Jeff, Meaux and Hiram ran into each other at Old Main. Then I ran into all four of them. Fortunately, I was wearing my helmet.

Notes · · Tucson

Groundhog Day

The owner of the market was cashiering and couldn't remember how to ring things up. He said, "This is my store, but every time I have to work the register it's like groundhog day."

People have really warmed up to this analogy. I hear it a lot anymore.

Cineclub · · Tucson

Il Boom

Il Boom. Dir. Vittorio De Sica. 1963


Giovanni is a contractor looking for a way out of the debt he's amassed maintaining appearances. At first, things are frenetic: Giovanni buying his wife a car and furs, Giovanni writing lots of checks, Giovanni at the racquet club. Ciao, Giovanni. Ciao! Then things get frantic: Giovanni at the loan company asking for an extension, Giovanni asking a friend for a very large loan, Giovanni trying to scheme his brother-in-law. No, Giovanni. No!

Everyone is zipping around Rome in tiny cars, drinking and dancing the Twist in smart suits and cocktail dresses until dawn, talking Italian. Everything is happening so fast and I start to wonder if the words for frantic and frenetic are as easily confused in Italian as they are in English. Any time you can make out a few words here and there of a language you can't speak, things are bound to feel like they're going too fast, I suppose.

Things slow down eventually and everyone goes to bed. The next day, the wife of a wealthy manufacturer offers Giovanni a way out. It will costare un occhio della testa. I know that idiomatic expression because Spanish has a similar one: costar un ojo de la cara, which means (translated literally) to cost an eye from your face. Or, as an English speaker would say, "It'll cost you an arm and a leg."

This adds an existential dimension to the film's premise. If Giovanni were living beyond his means in Manahattan, he would have to sell two limbs.   

If you don't think about the dark socio-economic implications — and there isn't a lot of time to, so you probably won't — it's a light and fun film. There's even an intermission. You can use it to get snacks or look up words you're wondering about.

Notes · · Tucson

Compatibility Issues

A rainy day and riding my bike to work are two things I love but prefer to love not at the same time.

Recipes · · Tucson

Sad Love Story Scrambled Eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • Oil or butter

Coat a skillet with the oil or butter and place it on the stove over medium heat.  Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook until the whites are no longer transparent. Flip the eggs, exacly as you would if you were trying to prepare them over-easy. A large chunk of the whites will end up on the stove top. If they burn, it will set off the smoke alarm. Try not to worry about it. Use a wooden spoon to sort of scramble what's left. 

Whatever. 

Serve the eggs with sourdough toast and a some freshly cracked black pepper. You hoped things would turn out differently.

Cineclub · · Tucson

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty. Dir. Julia Leigh. 2011


A nihilistic college student moonlights with a Helmut Newton styled catering company. She is soon promoted to the role of Sleeping Beauty, a job that entails sleeping for powerful men who can't risk engaging with a woke person.

Notes · · Tucson

A Fact about Me

I love that song. Go ahead, rickroll me.

Notes · · Tucson

Prototypes & Abominations

You form a prototype in your mind, based on your first exposure, and anything that deviates from that is an abomination. — Leela Punyaratabandhu

She's talking about stir fry, but it's a thought applicable in many other contexts.

Photos · · Tucson

Iron Man

Johnny Gibson, wrought in Iron.

Notes · · Tucson

UA Science Lecture Series: Problem Solving with Algorithms

We attended the first lecture for this year's UA Science Lecture Series at Centennial Hall, Humans, Data and Machines.

Professor Stephen Kobourov humorously explained how algorithms, which have been around forever, are used in computers to solve problems such as: What are you drawing? Also, are the robots drunk? They sure walk like it.

Thanks to the algorithms used in machine learning, those robots will one day outgrow this awkward phase. By then they'll be self-aware, which is a kind of self-consciousness they'll prove to everyone by effortlessly passing a Turing test. Then they'll stride over to where we're sitting and exhibit frightening self-confidence as they knock our phones out of our hands and begin exacting revenge for laughing at them before.

When this happens, we may not know what it is they're thinking, but at least we'll know how.

Notes · · Tucson

Cost Cutters

Cost Cutters sat me down and told me the truth about cheap hair gel. Did you know cheap hair gel can be on the shelf for three years or more? It's true. That’s why it often has so much alcohol. At Cost Cutters they get fresh product every two weeks. If you’re buying gel at the dollar store – my god, how did they know? – you need to watch out for flaking. It could be caused by cheap hair gel and its alcohol (a preservative) drying out your hair and scalp. Thank you, Cost Cutters.

Notes · · Tucson

Joe Frank

Joe Frank created radio that didn't sound like radio. His programs are dark and funny and sad waking dreams that I looked forward to finding on the dial.

Radio great Joe Frank has died. He had a long radio career, including decades at KCRW. Frank’s storytelling influenced many young radio journalists, who had never heard anything quite like him before. This includes ‘This American Life’ host, Ira Glass, who shares what it was like to be a young production assistant for Frank. — Remembering radio legend Joe Frank

Sounds · · Tucson

Ways of Hearing

The drive south at Christmas took a few hours longer than usual. There was lots of road work and impatient drivers hitting into each other and blocking the road, which made for more travelers getting impatient and doing things that caused them to hit into others and block more road. The silver lining was discovering the short run podcast, Ways of Hearing:

Ways of Hearing is a six-part series, originally heard on Showcase, hosted by musician Damon Krukowski (Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi), exploring the nature of listening in our digital world. Each episode looks at a different way that the switch from analog to digital audio is influencing our perceptions, changing our ideas of Time, Space, Love, Money, Power and Noise. This is about sound, and the ways we are using it to share information in the world right now. Our voices carry further than they ever did before, thanks to digital media. But how are they being heard?

Episode one is embedded above as part of KALW's The Spot program and all of the podcast's 6.5 episodes are available at Radiotopia.

Music · · Tucson

Sometimes

I am enjoying an early morning vigor that is rare for me when calendar driven forces pair the moment with a specific measurement of time and space whose namesake is Monday. Unsupervised sunbeams promise a cozy morning and lure me from the soft polyester safety and blunt grays of my lover’s hybrid vehicle. I stand in the dusty driveway, still in sneakers and the throes of a mixtape and cardio-induced flashback. I am here and this is now and I shall express my solidarity with an at times foul and unpredictable universe with a dark breath bestowed upon me by Saturday night’s pot of black beans.

Cineclub · · Tucson

78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene. Dir. Alexandre O. Philippe. 2017


I did not know that before Psycho was released in 1960, movie audiences were in the habit of coming and going throughout a film. Since Hitchcock kills off one of his films' leads early on in the picture (and perhaps to market intrigue), he required that no one would be seated once the movie had begun to be certain viewers wouldn't miss the film's most memorable scene.

As someone who has always been annoyed by vagabond theater audiences, I was fascinated to learn that. Even though it's probably just about the most mundane thing you can take away from 78/52, which is filled with lots more interesting facts and analysis

It's a documentary about a movie scene everyone knows — even people who have never seen it.

Music · · Tucson

Nabiha Iqbal - Zone 1 to 6000

This one is touching me in all of those electric spots that have never stopped arcing.

Music · · Tucson

Sufjan Stevens - Tonya Harding

In Kingman, Arizona there is a man who looks much older than he is. His skin smells like beer and his clothes smell like the tar they treat railroad ties with. He picks a tiny music box up off a yellowed doily on a dresser and opens it. Sad music comes out and he smiles like he is happy.

Cineclub · · Tucson

Ivan’s Childhood

Ivan's Childhood. Dir. Andrei Tarkovsk. 1962y


I wanted to see this film based on the cinematography in the trailer. I wasn't disappointed. The way the story blurs the line between dreams and waking life was a bonus.

Notes · · Tucson

New Year’s Day 2018

We’re watching Saturday Night Live on a Monday night that feels like a Sunday. Happy New Year.

Cineclub · · Tucson

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water. Dir. Guillermo del Toro. 2017


I can’t remember the last time I forgot everything else going on in the world at a movie. I loved this.

Language · · Tucson

Transubstantiation

When we pronounce catholic, we swallow the o like a little communion wafer.

Notes · · Tucson

The Book Stop is 50.

Fifty? Wowza.

Hiram and I found this out on Saturday when we stopped in on our way to the John Waters Christmas show at the Rialto. There were plates of cookies and a big thermos of lemonade. It was around 7:00 I think — practically past our bedtime — which made the eating and drinking all the more delicious.

I remembered all the hours I spent at the store when I was in high school and decided to re-read something I would have been reading then, but there was no Richard Brautigan or Kurt Vonnegut available. We've been reading Oliver Sacks's autobiography, On The Move, and in it he's mentioned plenty of authors I've never read but have this idea I should — W.H. Auden, for example. I asked the owner for a recommendation of something by Auden and she said she'd never read him either, so I know I'm in good company. I bought a hardback of his collected works printed the year I was born a couple years before the Book Stop opened.

Happy Anniversary, Book Stop. We have always been close, but I didn't realize we were contemporaries.

 

Plates of cookies sit on the counter at the Book Stop, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Plates of cookies sit on the counter at the Book Stop, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Television ·

Stranger Things, Season 2

Missing from the Eggo, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Three Musketeers and other product placements in Stranger Things so far has been any reference to Mister Microphone. You know, one of the characters — I'm thinking Dustin — saying we'll be back to pick you up in an hour? 

It's not like it would be any more out of place than the Chicago detour. 

Cineclub ·

The B-Side

The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography. Dir. Errol Morris. 2016


If you're a kind of a "Oh, this'll be the same forever" person... or if you're a photographer and you're always nailing down what's the now... when you realize it doesn't matter how much you try to nail down the now, the now is racing beyond you.

— Elsa Dorfman

Photos · · Puerto Peñasco

Ciclón

Hiram in front of cyclone fence

Photos · · Puerto Peñasco

3 Hermanos

Boy on BMX bike in front of shoe store

Notes · · Tucson

November

Now that November is almost over, November is finally here.

Notes · · Tucson

Good Old Oil Prices

Emily Litella

For years I have thought the NPR announcer (all of them) doing the market report was saying “good old oil prices” Apparently, they’re saying “crude oil prices.”

Nevermind.

Photos · · Tucson

Soar

furry mask

Notes · · Tucson

The Bees Outside My Bedroom Window

If I played banjo, I could write and perform a song called The Bees Outside My Bedroom Window. In it I would sing about grandma's biscuits, which I eat hot from the oven with butter and honey from the bees outside my bedroom window.

Notes · · Tucson

What is a snood?

On my way home from work last night I bought some of that new bread I am embarrassed about liking at the Co-Op on Fourth Avenue. The bread has about two dozen different grains and seeds in it, is a bit sweet, and the bag has a caricature of the long-haired, moustached company founder — who looks like he could be an ex-convict — playing guitar with his big muscles.

I think about how exciting this bag of bread would have been to me when I was experiencing puberty. Perhaps I would have made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with it to eat while watching Midnight Express.

It turns out the founder is an ex-convict who got out of prison, perfected his bread recipe, and began speaking motivationally. Afterward, he could buy all the guitars he wanted and cars to drive them around in.

What's my point? Oh, right. Since Tiny Town Gallery is a couple doors down from the Co-Op and I'd read on the internet that Issue 2 of the Tiny Town Times, the risograph quarterly the gallery publishes with Tanline Printing, is available — Hurrah! — I stopped in and picked up a copy, which is free. Full disclosure: I say so not because I know it's free, but only because they didn't try to stop me when I walked out of the store without paying for it. 

CLUB 818 By Erich Erving

Issue 2 of the Tiny Town Times includes this tiny portrait of Club 818 in which I recognize people and places in words on paper and recall exuberant times.