Friday, March 13, 2009

ENTER: THE VORTEX, or Why the Hell Did I Leave Tucson even though Sedona is breathtakingly gorgeous?

(...a driver's window visitor, or ... guide to the vortex)
It is now Friday the 13th. If you don't hear from me again for more than a week, I have been sucked into the infamous vortex(ices)(es)(i) of Sedona, Arizona, though I may already have been, you be the judge ...

Rewind to Monday, March 9th. I have absolutely no idea what happened to it, or most of the following day, Tuesday, though I was of course still in Tucson, so I can't blame the vortex - (unless!)
Tuesday evening I spent at a wonderful final lecture of a science series hosted by the University of Arizona (according to the MC, a top school for science, and according to a billboard, #1). This was Paul Cohen on Really Intelligent Computers, more or less a very general introduction to Artificial Intelligence and the work he's doing trying to teach computers to behave more like children as a starting point for them to learn more complex things on their own the way we do. After the lecture I made a new friend, a science student with a very bright future.

I now remember what I did Sunday night through Wednesday morning - I was cramming for a meeting with Eleni Hasaki, Classics Professor at U of A, an Athenian beauty who warned my her voice breaks rocks. Daughter of a plumber, she passionately studies the stories told on ancient pottery. I'm not going to reveal any content for the Leopold & Brink series, but the first book is called The Protagoras Paradox (so far) which at least hints at the reason for consulting scholars on Ancient Greece. I even got put to work (Eleni asked me to finish a drawing for a presentation she's preparing).
After the rather inspiring meeting, I had a treat in store, the Champions League game to decide whether Arsenal makes the final 8. Here's an image of my football hero, Kolo Toure, on the tv at Bob Dobbs pub where I watched the game and heard any number of offhand racist observations. Arsenal vs Roma (second game): We won the first 1 - 0 but Roma scored 1 in this one after 90 minutes, so the aggregate score was 1-1. We played horribly HORRIBLY! It goes to extra time, I'm already on the verge of heart failure since our crappy season at home may cost us a trip to the Champion's League next year which is too dark to think about. Extra time elapses and it's penalty kicks. Total lottery. One man a few yards from one goalie. We miss, they make one, we make one, they miss ... it goes on and on and on - until we finally by shear luck, win 7-6. Exhausting, exhilarating!

After watching, I had a farewell game to play with a new friend I made at another pub, formerly Olive R. Twist's. After that crazy but fun pickup of 20 vs 20 affable nuts, I zipped over to the YMCA to clean up for a meeting with the parents of the Builder of the Bed of Hobox, Phidias aka Dean. His parents were the sweet and salt of the earth and I guiltily accepted a delicious chicken and red mashed potato dinner, was supplied with an indulgent care package, and offered indefinite shelter, though I went off into the night and left fair Tucson, where all the women are either adorable 19 year old students or rangy cougar beauties of indiscriminate age ...

I myself turned the age of Indiana Jones yesterday (Ford's age in the first movie, though I feel more like his age in the latest) and for a gift I got myself a completely full moon night hike over the aforementioned Picacho Peaks the night the 11th turned to the 12th. Really really spooky and fantastic. Collapsed in Hobox and slept in on my birthday sunrise, then was visited by a drifter who hipped me to the whole geocaching phenomenon. I had to put it right out of my head since it sounded way too fun and time consuming, being the sucker I am for scavenger hunts of any kind.

I then drove swiftly past Phoenix and stopped at my non-football hero's place, Arcosanti, what I call the portal of the future of urban design. Paolo Soleri, the 90 year old dynamo Italian architect who worked briefly under Wright at Talesin, took the idea of 3-dimensionality in urban design to it's most logical and human conclusion. This place was to be the first working prototype, begun in the mid-sixties but never funded well enough to get it beyond that mask, or portal, a gesture really of what Paolo is about. I think I'll go back down there for a play this Saturday.

Next on the birthday tour, I visited the hometown of my dear friend Brink and dragged her to a local casino. I walked out $90 up after a rollercoaster ride. She's too young to gamble but she's not into it in any case, smart girl.

This was not the place, though it was near here - only thing creepier than an abandoned dog track is a working one.

Finally, Sedona. Holy hell.

This is the home of Krazy Kat of Coconino County, a platinum-age cartoon strip created by super-genius George Herriman. It's also the planet Mars on Earth and it's utterly impossible to capture without peripheral vision and color sense. Speaking of aesthetics, I ended my birthday by slipping into the (anti?)vortex where taste and soul are stripped of all meaning and sensation, a Resort. I stopped at a place called Krazy Koyote and assumed the owner if not the workers had some info on where Herriman's vacation home was. They didn't but after a comical chat, offered me a $20 suite at a resort for the night if I agreed to an 1.5 hour sales pitch the next day. I've somehow gone my many years without doing one of these, so I thought, what the hell $20 for a birthday bed and all it will cost me is a bit of time in the morning. That was this morning, the morning of Friday the 13th. The vortex enveloped me, I realize now I didn't even document the name or the look of the place (it was big and clean and fun and Solomon was in heaven) but we're out now and tonight here is the front and back view of our camp area. Finally, water!!

And for you cat people, the first in a series - PIN-UP #1


  1. I'm not sure about the other readers, but this "Kingdom of Hoboxia" is making me envious! Your Sedona pics are beautiful.

  2. It's possible that you may accomplish one of my life dreams: to see a wild burro! I hear that they occasionally make appearances in your neck of the woods. Let me know if you see any...

  3. Happy Birthday. More on Sedona please...

  4. Dean, get that bike and meet me in Canada !

    Sanjay, Sedona was just too attractive to me, I'll email you the real reasons I left.