Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

I have to be honest, I had to Google "what is the difference between memorial day and veterans day?"  I know they both result in a 3 day weekend.  I know that Memorial Day holds the Indy 500 festivities.  I know that they both represent our vets.  But I didn't know how one was different from the other.

Turns out, now that I read what Google fed me, that it's pretty obvious.  Memorial Day honors the vets who died in combat or from wounds received in combat.  Veterans Day honors the living who served or are currently serving our country.

I feel quite lucky to say that I have not lost any loved ones due to war.  My father served in Vietnam and from time to time he would share stories of war with me.  He witnessed the death of fellow soldiers, friends, first hand.  I type that sentence but can't even really imagine the impact of it's truth.  I can't imagine standing next to another human being, a friend, as a bullet takes their life; witnessing their last breath; helpless.  The things these men and women endure is beyond my scope of understanding.

Our soldiers certainly deserve this day of remembrance. Sadly, those currently serving do not get the day off. They do not get to enjoy a day with their families, barbecuing.  Theirs is a 24/7 job.  So, while we all go about our day today, no matter how we're spending this Memorial Day, we should each take a moment to think about our soldiers...both alive and those killed in service.


And on a lighter, final, note...congratulations to Ryan Hunter Reay for a tremendous and well-deserved win!

"The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."
- Douglas MacArthur

"I know that I'm already in the history books and that people are going to remember me as the prisoner of war and the fabricated stories, but you know, to me I was just another soldier over there doing my job."
- Jessica Lynch

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gettin' Me Some Culture!

Every now and then I will stray from my little 5 mile radius comfort zone and try to do something a little different, a little cultural perhaps.  This week I didn't have to go too far, actually, just downtown to one of my favorite spots...the Clarendon Hotel that houses the delicious Gallo Blanco.  However this time I wasn't there for the food (although please believe I did not leave there without eating!), but for a local art installment.  The event is called ArtelPhx and, according to the website, it is the "world's largest independent hotel art installation."

A little live music

Once again, thanks to Local First Arizona for getting access to the VIP preview night for Localist members.  Upon arrival we received a map of the hotel displaying all the rooms where we could find artwork.  We stepped outside by the pool and walked around to the staircase and suddenly heard people shouting about the "white chairs".  One man and three women put on a Stomp-esque performance with the white chairs that ended in an ovation from the crowd.

Our first hotel art room was artist, Valerie Hunt's, work with hands in an x-ray machine. The thought behind it was how old we feel on the inside does not necessarily match what's on the outside.  Her display was titled 'Aging Sucks' and I tend to agree.

When we stepped out of Valerie's room (not before letting her photograph our hands!) there was another live performance poolside.  This was a beautiful young woman typing away in the middle of the pool.  I don't know what the meaning behind it was, but it provided some nice pictures!

Next we entered the room of a voyeur. Ingrid Shults and Tain Barzso put together a display that put us, the audience, in the position of the voyeur.  There were peepholes on our way in and digital people sleeping in the bed. It was an interesting display.

A tv monitor in the bedside table drawer

There was another installation that was a 3D display of multicolored frames. The artist, Daniel Funkhouser, provided 3D glasses but I actually preferred the piece without the glasses.

The next room was set up by artist Amy Cannestra and it reminded me of Dexter for some reason.  There were shards of broken glass hanging over the bed with odd lights that would refract off the shards.  The sign on the door instructed us to keep the door closed, but it kind of creeped me out so we moved along to the next room.

Another artist, Scarlett Decker, has a fear of someone hiding in her room.  She displayed this fear with feet sticking out from under curtains, the bed, the shower, etc.  This one, too, kind of gave me the creeps!

Next was a vibrant display of 'Yellow' by Step Raptis.  It was kind of fun to look at all the different items he came across that were yellow.  I requested 'Purple' for next  year but he said he already had a request for 'Red.'  Bummer.

 And after an evening of culture, we enjoyed a cocktail on the rooftop and some food downstairs at Gallo Blanco.  All in all a very nice Thursday evening in downtown Phoenix!

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance."
- Aristotle

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for."
- Georgia O'Keeffe

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Austin - I LOVE This City!

With my past couple of jobs I have had the opportunity to travel across the US.  It is a great experience no matter where I go, but it's a wonderful experience when I really feel connected to the city.  I have been to Minneapolis, Columbus, St. Louis, New York, Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas, Denver, Sacramento, West Hollywood, Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Austin, and Boston for my jobs. And while I have had fun in every city, I have to say I left my heart in Atlanta and in Austin.  Both of these cities have some of the nicest people I've ever met.

Downtown Austin skyline at sunset

One of many guitars scattered about the city

Live music on 6th Street

The city of Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States right now; therefore, I will forgive the horrible traffic and just hope they get it sorted out.  Their love of music and food is unlike anything I've ever experienced.  They have live bands tucked into the must unassuming spots.  They stand in line for hours for food and have food trucks spread out all over the city. 

Texas barbecue - Salt Lick

Dining on South Congress

While my co-worker indulged in a Son of a Peach, I refrained...not sure I'm so proud of that now!

Chef at Paul Qui's restaurant

Chef at Paul Qui's restaurant pulling fresh herbs from plants on the countertop

Living in Scottsdale I've become accustomed to the fake breasts, plumped lips, and stagnant foreheads.  And I'm not judging...anyone who knows me knows I've wanted "breastesess" my whole life!  But the women in Austin are so natural it reminded me of what true beauty is...being yourself.  One type of needle that IS used in Austin quite often, however, is the tattoo needle.  This city is one of the most tatted cities I've been to.  I think having a tattoo is a requirement to live here.  And the tattoos are beautifully colored and vibrant pieces of art.  (I WISH I had a new one to show you...soon).

Similar to their colorful tattoos, the city is also known for their iconic graffiti art plastered on the sides of buildings throughout the streets.

I hope to get back to Austin sometime with my girlfriends for a weekend girls trip.  From SoCo to Rainey Street to Dirty Sixth; from flip flops to cowboy boots; from food truck lines to Uchi; we are guaranteed to have a great time!! 

Until next time, dear Austin!

Congress "Bat" Bridge - everyone lined up to see the bats swarm from under the bridge

Stay Weird!

“I like it here in Austin. Anybody got a room?”
  -Keith Richards

 "Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word"
-Author John Steinbeck

Some Links:
Dirty 6th 
South Congress Cafe 
Chuggin' Monkey
Rainey Street 
Paul Qui
Bat Bridge 
Sale Lick BBQ