April 30, 2012

Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness

While commenting at one of my favorite blogs, I quoted the great Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation fame, and that reminded me of a chart that should have been posted months ago. Now that I'm once again a freelance gun-for-hire, the timing is much better. (click to read)

I can't believe I hated that show in its first season! Anyone got any steak?

PS: Don't forget to vote Leslie Knope for Pawnee City Council.

April 17, 2012

Route 66 Beacons in the News

The classic 66 Motel in Needles: will she beckon travelers again?
Two landmark Route 66 motels are in the news: the El Trovatore in Kingman, Arizona, which has not only reopened but restored its neon tower, and the 66 Motel in Needles, California, which is the subject of an intense fundraising effort to save its classic sign.

Relighting the 66 Motel: There's a reason why most tourists drive to Laughlin instead of Needles, but the Route 66 town will always be my first choice. Between 100 BNSF trains a day, the nearby Colorado River, a Harvey House hotel and a parade of vintage motels and diners, Needles has plenty to interest the Route 66 traveler. Now preservationist Ed Klein is raising money to restore the classic 66 Motel sign in Needles, Calif. I last photographed the sign in 2004 while working on my Route 66 Railway book (back then I was still shooting film!). For as much as it's been immortalized in books, documentaries and artwork, this is the first serious restoration effort I can recall. Ed's goal is to raise $3,600 by 11:59 p.m. PT on Wednesday, April 18; about 35 hours remain as of this posting. Click HERE to see a 90-second video on the restoration and donate online. (Donors get cool Route 66 perks!)

Can you imagine this lit up at dusk?
A Southwest Beacon Returns: I've lost count of how many times I passed the hillside El Trovatore motel and prayed that a savior would one day restore its midcentury glory. Thanks to Monica and Sam Frisher, that prayer has finally been answered. The soaring red and green neon tower was relit in early April and 20 rooms have been refurbished in classic Hollywood themes. A ton of work remains, but the Frishers have already overcome huge odds by saving this Kingman gem. I can't wait to visit and capture that marvelous tower at dusk . . . hopefully there's a way to frame the motel with a passing train in the cut below. For more info, visit their website at http://eltrovatoremotel.com/. You can read a great article on the motel restoration by clicking HERE. Also, author Jim Hinckley has photos of the restored tower -- click HERE to see them.

A big "thank you" to these preservation heroes who are keeping the Route 66 mystique alive!

April 14, 2012

The Empire Strikes AT&T Park

Armed with Stormtrooper helmet and road jersey, a fan makes his way to AT&T Park. (click to bigify)

Baseball is back, thank God!! The San Francisco Giants flag is once again flying proudly over our garage. (Last week's disastrous sweep in Arizona is already forgotten). Watching yesterday's magical home opener recalled memories of our one and only 2011 game trip, to see the defending 2010 World Champions in action. And we didn't pick just any game: we chose AT&T Park's "Star Wars Day."

The real Boba Fett and his boss pose near right field.

Glorious worlds collide! Costume contests, a Brian Wilson Carbonite giveaway, appearances by Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and plenty of stormtroopers . . . then after the game, a screening of The Empire Strikes Back on the park's high-tech scoreboard.

The Giants lost to the Diamondbacks, but the day will always be long remembered. Kat and I even appeared on the scoreboard with our orange rally rags! Since then, we've discovered that Star Wars Days are becoming all the rage at MLB parks, so check the 2012 season calendar of your favorite team.

Below is a little photo essay from our Force-tastic day last September. Can't wait for our first road trip to AT&T Park -- a slice of baseball heaven by the bay.

Giants mascot Lou Seal channels his inner Jedi.

Badass times two. If Fett ever returns, these should be his colors.

Sadly, this masterpiece didn't even place in the costume contest.

Never leave Endor without your Panda hat.

There's a joke here, but I'll let you make your own.

Empire on the bitchin' scoreboard. Those people in center field paid $100 for the privilege. Nerfherders.

"I am your Father, LOL."