Monday, July 28, 2014

Five months later and they're still painting

I've been posting for months about the ongoing repainting of Ridgepointe, the apartment complex where I live.

It's a rather large complex (around 20 buildings and 250-ish apartments) and I thought it would take a while when they started.  I had no idea that "a while" would be five months and still going.  The painters have endured cold mornings, broiling days, the monsoon, working around residents, and depending on the building... up to three stories worth of structures to paint.  Add in doors, window frames, railings, and it's a lot.  I know absolutely nothing about a painting project of this magnitude so my postings have been from a viewpoint of fascination.

Today there was a notice on our front door that this Wednesday they'll be painting our front and balcony doors and they were alerting us because they have to open them to paint the edges.

I hope they're ready to see Anthony in his underwear.

The painting of Ridgepointe.
Hey, I think you missed a spot.

The show before the show

A lot of people who watch TV or listen to the radio don't know that one of the things we all deal with who work in the media business is what I call "hurry up and wait".  On-camera talent, photographers, the people who set up all of the broadcasts, are all in a rush to get equipment and people in position for their brief appearances on the air.

On our TV show, one of those 'hurry up and wait' times is the minutes leading up to going on the air.  The hosts get into position to check camera focus and lighting, make sure everything looks right, and then they stand around for a while waiting.  Sometimes that waiting time comes with funny conversations to kill time.

Recently, I've been shooting more photos of these exchanges waiting to go on the air.  I've captured some pretty funny pictures.  It's even funnier to me that I have no idea what they were talking about but they're expressions and gestures made for amusing photos.

It's the stuff the Kenparazzi lives for.

I have no idea what they were talking about.
But whatever it was, it must have been hilarious.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Virginity lost at Church's Chicken

Anthony and I had our usual Sunday food fiesta today -- dinner and grocery shopping.

Dinner was at Church's Chicken on Broadway east of Pantano.  Anthony had never eaten at Church's before, so today was the day that he lost his Church's virginity.  I wanted to go because I like their chicken strips and they have wonderful biscuits.  I felt some sympathy for Anthony during the dinner though, because he prefers to eat food properly with utensils instead of his fingers like a well mannered gentleman.  (I just eat with my fingers because I'm barely above a caveman in the evolutionary chain).  All that Church's offered was plastic utensils and that included a spork (the most evil utensil invention ever created) and a knife.  The poor guy struggled to cut the food so he could eat it.  I am now considering buying a special set of silverware that I can store in the car just for Anthony in case this sort of thing happens again.

On a side note, he said he liked the food.  It remains to be seen if he liked it enough that he requests we go there again.

Our trip through Walmart Neighborhood Market at Broadway and Camino Seco was a little bit quicker than usual because Anthony announced right after dinner that he needed a trip to the restroom to, let's say for the sake of some imagination here, "escort some dancers off of the dance floor".

Church's Chicken virginity lost with
chicken strips, biscuits, and fries

Anthony learns it's not easy to eat like a gentleman
at Church's when all you get is a plastic spork and knife

Sneaky photo of Anthony:
He announced shortly before this that he needed
us to hurry the shopping trip up because
a restroom visit was imminent.
Now that I've posted this on my blog,
a tragic death in my sleep by murder
may also be imminent.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Bread
"with cinnamon bursts".
Anytime I can get a burst in my mouth
I vote yes.

DiGiorno Italian Style Favorites Pizza
I got a case of diarrhea looking at the box.

Anthony caught me trying to take a picture
of him while I was holding this box of Freshtimes Pantiliners.
It was not a total loss though,
you can still see the top of his head.

Pretty storm clouds looking east
from the Walmart Market parking lot
at Broadway and Camino Seco in Tucson.
Sometimes the pretty part of a sunset is
looking the opposite direction of where the sun is.

The black cat that walks on a leash

One of my neighbors has a black cat that they've trained to walk on a leash.

I have not had the opportunity (yet) to take a picture of the cat leash walking in action, but I did spot the cat sitting in the window when Anthony and I left for dinner and grocery shopping tonight.

I know there's an old wives' tale that says you get bad luck if a black cat crosses your path, but I haven't heard of one involving a cat sitting in a windowsill when you leave to buy groceries.  I may be taking a leap of faith, but I think I'll be okay.


Return Of The Mack

I was putting fuel into the Ken Carr car at the 22nd Street and Country Club Circle K location yesterday, and I spotted a campaign sign on the corner that had me playing a song in my head.

Mark Morrison is apparently running for an Arizona State Senate seat.  A different Mark Morrison (I'm making a leap of faith here that it is a different one) had a monster hit song in 1997 called "Return Of The Mack" (click here for the YouTube video if you're not familiar).

It would not surprise me if Mark gets a few votes when a voter or two thinks it is the same guy.  Although, a repeated line of the lyrics for the song are "You lied to me", which is not a good thing to be known for if you're a politician.

Mark Morrison for State Senate campaign sign.
Not the "Return Of The Mack" singer
(although maybe he belts it out in the shower).

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bugs Bunny impression

I prefer candid style pictures (which is why I nicknamed my photography "Kenparazzi").  I think pictures are a lot more interesting when they show people doing things besides lined up next to each other smiling for the camera.

I shoot a lot of photos on the set of the TV show.  I think it's funny to take pictures of the hosts eating.  We do a lot of food tasting on this show, so there are often opportunities to try to get the most amusing (to me) eating pictures that I can.  I have the timing almost down to a science.  I even have a folder on my computer that is nothing but eating and drinking photos.  I have no idea what I would ever do with the collection, I just save them.

I caught a shot this week of host Zach eating a carrot during a food demonstration segment.  It's right out of the Bugs Bunny playbook.  It's likely not amusing to anyone but me, but since this is my website I'm going to share it anyway.

Eating a carrot on live television.
I think this is how Bugs Bunny
got his start.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A side of upset stomach

I had lunch today with a co-worker on our way to a client meeting.  She wanted to buy lunch, and a general rule in my life is to never say no to free food.  I'll eat a bag of nails if I don't have to pay for it.  Food is really expensive.

The conversation during lunch was interesting.  I learned what the salary range is for sales folks at my company.  In the interest of not jeopardizing my own job, I can't share what the amounts are that were discussed.  But, it is significantly more than I make.  I always have known that but learning a more exact range was eye opening.

Some people would find that defeating or learning that would make them angry.  I am not upset.  I tried sales for a short period in my life in my early twenties and I was terrible at it.  I don't seem to have the brain wiring needed to ask people for money (that's really what selling is at it's core).  I don't have an issue with rejection (that's often the downfall of people who fail at sales as a career).  I just feel weird asking.

I'm wired more to have an 'earn it' mentality.  I do the best that I'm capable and work as hard as I can at every job I've had.  Whatever my employer decides is an appropriate amount to pay for that work, that's what I've always lived with.  Being a 'creative type' of person, my big payday in life comes from the ideas that I have that work out or have some level of success, no matter how small.  This blog is an example.  I've spent probably twenty times more on camera equipment and computers to create and maintain it than I've ever made from the Google ads that are on it.

I've felt for a long time that I am never going to be financially successful.  I do sometimes wish I had more money, it would solve a lot of problems.  But, I still feel fortunate.  I've done the best I can with the abilities that I have.  I can proudly say "I try".  Maybe that should be carved onto my tombstone whenever I kick the bucket.

The take away from the lunch conversation for me was a reminder not to be jealous of other people's success.  Sure, it would be amazing to own a big beautiful home and drive a new car.  But, what I have earned is a rented apartment and a ten year old problematic sports car.  Unless I win the lottery, take a picture that the whole world wants to buy, or my company decides that they have a position for me that pays a stupidly huge amount for some skill that they have to have, my lot in life is likely to stay this way.  And, that's okay.  I get paid what I'm worth.

One thing I was grateful for today was the lunch.  And, even though the sandwich I had really upset my stomach, someone else paid for it.  I'm really grateful for that.

The front counter at Panera at Grant and Swan.
This random woman buying pastries almost blocked
the view of the Panera employee
waving us over to take our order.

She had salad, I had a Chipoltle chicken Panini sandwich
with a side of upset stomach.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hey you kids, get off my lawn

Anthony and I did our usual Sunday excursion today -- dinner and grocery shopping.

Dinner was at Smashburger at Grant and Swan Rd.  The restaurant wasn't terribly busy, but there were several families who each had one child at their table.  I've discovered that Anthony doesn't care for children, and he wears his displeasure when they're near all over his face (as you'll see in the photos below).  I kept hoping he'd yell at the kids like a crazy old person, but he somehow managed to keep himself in check.  My prediction:  He'll be referring to children as "whippersnappers" before his next birthday.

We went grocery shopping at the Walmart Neighborhood Market at Grant and Alvernon.  We have not been to that location in a while, and they remodeled the store since the last time we were there.  It has new signage outside and a brighter interior.  The best part about this store:  It has some spectacular people watching and despite the remodeling, it still does.  I highly recommend a visit for that part alone.

At Smashburger at Grant Rd and Swan Rd.
The little girl at the table behind Anthony
put him into a bit of a funk.
She was cute, he was cranky.

Oooo! Another child.
He is turning into a cranky old person
right before my eyes.

BaKEN cheeseburger and fries for Ken.

Jalapeno burger and fries for Anthony
with a side of being annoyed at children.

I caught these two bottles of Anthony's nasal spray
making out behind the ketchup bottle.

Walmart Neighborhood Market at Grant and Swan:
Smart Puffs baked cheese puffs.
Anthony could have used these when
he was taking the college class this summer.

Blue Bunny Lucas Salsagheti
Watermelon and spicy fruit bars on a stick
or essentially salsa on a stick.
As Anthony put it, "That's disgusting".

Sam's Choice Coffee and Donuts Ice Cream
Finally, a way to get both for breakfast
conveniently scooped into a bowl.

Old guy installs new battery

I'll volunteer this right at the top:  I am not very mechanically inclined.  But, I'm fun at parties.

I'm not incapable of learning.  If I see someone do a task (either in person or on a YouTube video, which is one of the greatest helps thanks to today's technology), I have a pretty decent degree of success in duplicating it myself.  That's how I've managed to do a few simple mechanically related fixes in my life or know when something breaks if I've experienced it before, what it might be.

In my previous blog post, I shared that I had to go purchase a new battery for the Ken Carr car (my 2004 Mazda RX-8).  Based on the ten times or so I've had batteries fail in various cars during my lifetime, I had a strong degree of confidence that replacing the battery when out of the blue the engine was cranking really slowly was the needed fix.  I've had three batteries fail previously during the eight year period that I've owned the car, so I have an idea what happens when the battery is at it's end.

I got the battery last night, but one other thing I have learned in my life is that attempting car repair tasks in the dark, even with a flashlight or two, takes longer and is a bit more difficult.  Sometimes it can't be helped.  In this case, since it happened on a weekend, I could wait until this morning to do the change out.

Earlier this week, I had purchased a couple of quarts of oil for the car (rotary engines burn oil naturally -- which is what the RX-8 has -- and I have to put oil in the engine regularly) and an air filter.  I couldn't remember the last time the air filter was changed when I purchased a new one on a whim.  I was sure it was full of dirt (oh air filter, you are sooooo dirrrrrty and naughty) and that causes certain issues including carbon build up in the motor, more wear and tear, and decreased gas mileage.  The RX-8 already gets craptastic gas mileage (rotary engines have that problem if you can call it that) so if a new air filter could get me another mile to the gallon that would be a 3-5% improvement.  I vote yes.

I was waiting to change the air filter until this weekend because I didn't want to get my work clothes dirty doing it on a weekday morning, and it gets dark shortly after I get home from work.  It was not an emergency, so I thought it could wait.  I ended up being able to get dirty once -- battery change and air filter in the same operation.

The task was successful.  Car started after new battery installed.  Removing and installing the new air filter tore up my fingers a bit but no blood.  Now that I'm a tough mechanic-type guy (for fifteen minutes, anyway) maybe I'll go crush a beer can on my head and watch sports on TV.  When does ESPN show swimming?

The rachet tool set I received as a
Christmas gift from my parents 30 plus
years ago.
It still comes in handy.

Dirty air filter from the Ken Carr car -
my Mazda RX-8.

Air filter, you're sooooo dirty.

The old dead battery.
Buh bye.

New battery installed.
We're at full power, Captain.
Ahead warp factor one.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Ken Carr car battery committed suicide

I ask myself this more and more often:  "When did everything get so expensive?"

I got into the Ken Carr car this evening to drive Anthony and I to Burger King for dinner.  (Even dinner at Burger King is getting more expensive).  The car turned over very slowly when I went to start it.  After a quick check of interior lights and making sure the trunk was latched (in case I had a dumb moment and some light was on all night and day to drain the battery), I knew that the problem was that the car battery was near the end of it's life.

One thing I've learned about car batteries:  They don't start to 'wind down', they basically work until they just stop working.

The extreme heat in southern Arizona has a negative effect on batteries.  It shortens their life.

I replaced the battery two years ago almost exactly to the week.  At that time, I purchased one from Walmart (the car battery died in the parking lot at the tv/radio building) and it was the closest place I could carry a battery from the store to the station (Walmart is one block from the station, and damn those things are heavy).  It didn't surprise me that the battery died today, what did surprise me was the sticker shock:  $129 at Autozone plus the $15 core charge and sales tax, which brought the total to just over $150.

I remember 30 years ago (which explains a lot unfortunately) when I worked at Boogaart's grocery store during my high school years while living in Nebraska.  Management alerted the cashiers (which is what I did there for a large chunk of my employment at that store) that the price of candy bars was going to increase from 25 to 35 cents.  We were warned because management was concerned that customers would be upset.  That's exactly what happened.  I even think I was cussed at a couple of times when a customer went to pay for it.  You would have thought the world was coming to an end with a price increase of that size on a Snicker's bar.  Now, they are at least three times that much.

Anthony drove me to Autozone to purchase the new battery, it was dark when we got home so I didn't install it tonight.  It'll be kind of a let down when I hook it up tomorrow -- the car will work just like it did yesterday.  All of that money spent without anything exciting to show for it.

Duralast batteries at Autozone.
$129 for the one needed to power the Ken Carr car.
For that price, it should buy me dinner
and Dura blow me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hey hey hey here's 25k on whatsuptucson

Occasionally on my blog I've shared an update regarding @whatsuptucson, the Tucson local news / info Twitter I've had since 2009.

I'm not the person who gave birth to this Twitter account.  The credit for that goes to a fabulous woman named Leesa, who shared things in the beginning like beautiful photos she would take of sunsets from Gates Pass and local Tucson events and info.

She moved to California five years ago, and at the time I was a big champion of Twitter on my other account @kencarr.  I was even teased by a number of my co-workers at Journal Broadcast Group here in Tucson for believing that Twitter was going to be a significant player in the social media world.  In case you're wondering, no one makes fun of me anymore.  (These were the days when Ashton Kutcher and CNN were in a race to be the first to hit one million followers - now there are 85 accounts with over ten million followers).

At the time that Leesa handed over the keys (so to speak) when she was looking for someone who loved Tucson and wanted to keep it going, @whatsuptucson had a couple thousand followers.  As many things do, it has evolved into a project that has helped a lot of people maneuver around traffic accidents, avoid speed traps, find lost pets, raise money for relative's funerals with car washes, alert people when large parties are going to be broken up, share info and photos of fires and floods, the list goes on.  I know it's also become a helpful resource to newsrooms at the TV stations like KGUN 9, newspapers like the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Weekly, and the dozens of reporters and assignment editors who keep an eye on breaking news in Tucson.  The followers of @whatsuptucson share photos of what they see in their neighborhoods and streets, and essentially crowd source the info that they feel is important and I retweet as much as I think people will find interesting and useful.  I also monitor the police / emergency scanner as often as I can (outside of work) to continue to 'feed the machine'.  It's a pretty time consuming hobby.

Today, @whatsuptucson reached another follower milestone:  25,000 followers.  That's like the size of a small city!  I think it's pretty amazing for a locally focused Twitter that's primarily grown through word of mouth.

Here's a little gift in celebration of 25k -- I'll answer a few questions here that I'm frequently asked about @whatsuptucson:

"Will you ever put this on Facebook?" -- I won't ever say never, but there are no plans to do it at this point.  Facebook's news feed is a fail (they have it designed to attempt to make money on their site so I can't trash it completely... I get it) and it's search is useless.  There are more people who use Facebook but it's much less useful for my purposes.

"How do you get all of this info?" -- It's Tweeted to me by followers, and I monitor the scanner when I can.  I also pay attention in general, some things pop up in other places.

"How do you make money from @whatsuptucson?" -- I don't.  I raised $500 with a gofundme drive earlier this year to buy a new emergency scanner.  That's the only dough I've ever received.

I do a five minute segment on Thursday mornings on 104.1fm KQTH radio which is fun -- where I do a weekend events calendar for Tucson.  Since I used to be a radio dj, it's enjoyable to do and it promotes @whatsuptucson as well.

If you follow on Twitter, a big thank you for clicking the follow button at some point and for believing in the time / effort / work that goes into @whatsuptucson.  I hope you find it useful.  25,000+ people now do so far.  It's humbling and I'm grateful.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The Children's Museum Tucson was on the TV show today demonstrating the properties of Ooblek, which is a mixture of corn starch and water.  Depending on how it's handled, it can take on the properties of a liquid or the properties of a solid.

I was able to shoot some fun Kenparazzi photos of the segment including the hosts throwing stuff as part of the segment.  Throwing stuff makes fun TV (and photos!).

Ooblek - a mixture of corn starch and water.
Bre from the Children's Museum Tucson demonstrated
it's unique liquid to solid properties.

Throwing a plastic egg and a plastic bag that contained
a real egg with ooblek onto the table.
This demonstrated how the solid properties of ooblek
cushioned the egg in the bag.

The plastic egg popped apart into two pieces.
The plastic bag with the real egg and ooblek
hit a cup of corn starch on the tables and sent
corn starch powder flying.

The corn starch went all over.

Making a mess!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

An empty Burger King and Poison Ivy Relief Pads

Ahhhh, another Sunday.  It's the weekly Anthony and Ken dinner and grocery shopping excursion day.  There's a running joke in the old Peanuts cartoons that has Snoopy starting his stories with "It was a dark and stormy night".  Snoopy apparently knew what kind of weather we'd face going out this evening.  Fortunately for us, the worst of it was over when we headed out.

We ate dinner in an empty Burger King at Speedway and Pantano.  I had not been in that BK location since they remodeled it.  It has a 'rock n roll' theme.  It made my extra long barbecue cheeseburger seem musical if a sandwich is capable of that.

We purchased groceries at the Walmart Neighborhood Market at Broadway and Camino Seco.  We were going to go to the location at 22nd and Craycroft but that area was without power due to the monsoon storms.  Thanks to the new part of the TEP (Tucson Electric Power) website that shows where there are outages, I knew that would be a wasted attempt so we went to an area that had power.

At least the power didn't go out at our apartment so that Anthony could watch "Married To Medicine" tonight on Bravo when we got home. 

Burger King at Speedway and Pantano.
Once again, we ate dinner in an empty restaurant.

The light fixtures look like giant records.

I picked the table with the guitar on it.
I had no problem getting it, the place was empty.

Anthony's Chicken Big King sandwich.
It looked appetizing.

Yo Crunch Snickers and Twix yogurt.
Because yogurt is too healthy plain.

Share a Coke with your soul mate.
Way more effective than e-harmony or

Kona Red original coffee fruit.
Anthony said he tried it once and it tasted like
"a dirty gym sock in filthy water
that was rinsed out of an asshole."
That may mean he didn't care for it.

Someone left this bag of Tootie Fruities cereal
in this bin of Totino's Pizza Rolls.
I almost didn't notice when I walked by.

Glade Sheer White Cotton spray
When you want your bathroom to smell
like granny panties (like they show on the can).

Betty Crocker Root Beer Float frosting.
I hope whoever came up with this
got a big giant well deserved raise.

"Hey Anthony, I have something for you"

"Hey Anthony, I have something else for you
and you'll really want it".

Monsoon storms packed a punch July 13, 2014

This season's monsoon in southern Arizona has been in full force for a couple of weeks now.  Today's storms that rolled through Tucson arguably caused the most widespread damage and chaos yet this summer.

There have been thousands without power for hours now, there are some roads (and heavily traveled ones) that are impassable due to flooding, and uprooted trees, damaged roofs, damaged homes, damaged businesses, broken traffic lights, all due to the crazy wind.

I went to KGUN early this evening to get some work done ahead since one of my co-workers is on vacation tomorrow, and the first storm hit when I was there.  I took a few photos:

(There was no significant damage at the radio/tv building or at my apartment building two miles away.  We were fortunate).

Pouring rain at the KGUN building
as seen from the window at the back door.

Front parking lot of the KGUN building during the storm.
That's the Ken Carr car on the far side of the lot.
Nature gave me a free car wash.

Another view of the front parking lot during the storm
as seen from a second floor window.

Plenty of puddles

Stormy skies

Storm aftermath:
Large puddle in the back parking lot

This bucket blew out into the middle of the back parking lot.
We will rebuild.

Empty soggy Jack In The Box fry box.
We will rebuild.

Trash can blown over in the back parking lot.
We will rebuild.

Water filled pothole at Rosewood and Finance Center Drive.

Tree branch snapped due to high wind.
Geico will rebuild (hope they have insurance).