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Monday, March 17, 2014

Las Vegas: The Great Satan of Water Wasters (or not).

Several months ago, I traveled to Las Vegas to report on a story about Southern Nevada's efforts to save water. When I told people around here what I was doing, they often laughed, as though it were some kind of joke. It wasn't. I went into the story with a wide open mind, and came back impressed by their efforts at efficiency, especially when it comes to water: Not only has per capita water use dropped considerably in the last decade, so has overall water use, even as the population has ballooned. To be clear, Vegas started out as a massive waster of water, so cutting back was less painful than it might have been elsewhere. And, perhaps more than any other city, Vegas faces very hard, not very distant limits to its water consumption. Until it can realize its dreams of pumping water from rural parts of the state -- which could be decades away -- it only has its share of the Colorado River to draw from.

Just because the city was forced to conserve, however, doesn't make that conservation any less impressive. Yet many readers seemed downright baffled that anyone would write a Las Vegas water story that does anything aside from condemning the city and even questioning its right to exist. One reader -- who apparently only read one of every three sentences -- called it a "fluff piece." Another complained that it wasn't the "brutal exposé of our pathetic definition of what it means to be 'green' in this country that I would have preferred."

Please read the article yourself, and especially the last section, and develop your own opinion. And here's a supplementary piece, addressing some other water issues in Vegas.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An oldie but kinda good

While working on an essay about Red Mountain Pass being closed for weeks because of rock fall, thereby cutting Silverton's northern artery, I dug up this old article I wrote when I owned the Silverton Standard newspaper back in the day. It's got some fun photos in it, and an account of what it's like to accompany avalanche forecaster Jerry Roberts and Colorado Department of Transportation folks on a control run after a massive storm. And what it's like to stare down a massive avalanche's throat as it runs right toward you. Enjoy the story, which is now a whopping nine years old. And sorry about the funky fonts. One day I'll retype the story and post it in a more presentable fashion, along with others from that era...


Monday, November 18, 2013

Glen Canyon Dam and God


Earlier this month, I took a trip to Las Vegas to report on a story based out of there. I suppose I could have flown, but flights out of Durango are absurd: It would have taken nearly 9 hours by plane, assuming my flights were on time and I made my connections. Driving takes about the same amount of time, and takes one through some of the most spectacular country in the world, so drive I did. And, by pure chance, I drove through Page, Arizona during the peak of the Bureau of Reclamation's High Flow Experiment, during which unusually large amounts of water are released from Lake Powell in order to simulate natural floods in the Grand Canyon.

It was pretty cool to see. I went out on the crazy bridge (the highest/longest of its kind when it was built back in the early 1960s), and simply gazed out at the dam, letting the roar of the water blasting out serenade me into a tranquil state of awe. It inspired some thoughts about my sort of obsession with gargantuan infrastructure, about drought and climate change and, yes, about God. I wrote about it for High Country News. Read it. 



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mr. Landman, Bring Me A Dream





Don't ask me what this one's all about, because I really don't know. I make these things to spark some alternative creative fires. Or at least hoping they will.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Poetry is for disasters, tears are for the drycleaners


Okay, so I don't really know where the name for this photograph/painting came from, but now that I'm an artist-type, I have to develop the temperament: broody, dark, intense, mysterious. This is the mysterious part, I suppose. In other work, I wrote about the Tea Party fringe holding the GOP and our nation hostage in hopes of killing the health care law. And I recounted my experience running in the Louis Tewanima footrace in Hopi. Enjoy.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Something entirely different

I can't paint, but I sometimes have the urge to do so. I make up for it by taking photographs and digitally altering them to look kind of like paintings. I'm messing with some Stanton Englehart inspired stuff right now, using photos I took when I lived in Boulder and tweaking tweaking tweaking until they start to look right. Which they never really do. But then, that's art for you, no? They're kind of like this:


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Images from a road trip: Winslow, Hopi etc.

For Labor Day weekend, my family and I hit the road, headed south. The harsh blue skies and dry, dusty land had given way to towering thunderheads and monsoonal rains and mud and green and tall, tall grass. It was part vacation and part work: I was reporting on a story about Winslow, Ariz., and another one about running in Hopi (coming soon). We're heading back down this weekend for more reporting, this time of the very cool art on rails project called Station to Station. Worth checking out if you can. This is a collection of images I captured during the trip. I love the way the light plays with the clouds and the land during the monsoon.

Amtrak conductor and train. Winslow, Ariz., Aug. 2013.

Picnic Area, Little Painted Desert, Ariz. Aug. 2013.

Amaranth and La Posada. Winslow, Ariz., Aug. 2013.

Lydia and the approaching storm. Little Painted Desert, Ariz., Aug. 2013

Moenkopi corn field. Sept. 2013.

Storm near Hopi. Aug. 2013.

All Star Krew and distant butte. Little Painted Desert, Ariz. Aug. 2013.

Rest Area, Little Painted Desert, Ariz. Aug. 2013.

Pigeons. Winslow, Ariz. Aug. 2013.