Friday, June 15, 2007

Salt River Tubing 2007

Did you watch the footage? (Brought to you by So, Salt River Tubing is totally like that.

Besides that, I just want to say as a follow up to my 2005 post about tubing the Salt River, that I think things have evolved a bit. I've come to the conclusion that the Amsterdam of the American Southwest constitutes of a community built by drunk and stoned hicks in inner tubes on a little river in the middle of Arizona. And much like Amsterdam, if you've never visited the Salt River, then you ain't living.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yoga Oasis - My Yoga Experience

I started doing yoga in 2001 and I didn't like it. I tried. In fact, I did it at three different places. It was a drag. I forced myself to go. I got some flexibility out of it but not much else.

Around six months ago a very stubborn friend dragged me to Yoga Oasis. At first I was like, "Everyone in Tucson does friggin' yoga. Been there, done that" and rolled my eyes. That said, within the first ten minutes of class I could feel my body, mind and soul thanking me for being there. It was the most relaxing and satisfying thing I could have done at a very high pressure moment in my life: exam time.

Now I like to go twice a week. I can walk in there pissed off, anxious or stressed out and emerge completely relaxed, with new perspective and positivity.

I take basics with Bruce Bowditch. I like Bruce because he's hilarious, and he somehow simultaneously challenges and nurtures. He takes the time to give very important, detailed instruction about how the pose is supposed to feel and be done, while giving variation options and watching out for potentially painful errors. The detail he puts into basics instruction has meant a world of difference to me. I finally realize that the poses are all truly active. I think that perhaps the most common misconception about yoga is that the poses are passive and boring. If you find that's the case for you, your pose is actually missing something.

I also like that Bruce gives more verbal instruction as opposed to visual, which allows me to go more deeply into my body/temple instead of watching/being distracted by what someone else is doing.

Yes, my body has responded to the practice by growing stronger, more flexible and increasing in balance and grace, but the physical cannot be separated from the mental or the spiritual. Not only does my mood always improve after yoga, but a few times I have truly tapped into a "spiritual state". I know this sounds really fruity and New Age, but I've had a few intense moments that deserve to be shared and honored.

Recently I experienced a really bright feeling, right at the start of shevasana, that was exactly like the feeling I had as a child when I was still able to fully accept the power of the mystical presence of God in me. It's a feeling I can't really explain any other way. I hadn't felt that way since I was probably six years old. The reason why I find this kind of remarkable is because I wasn't really looking to make yoga a spiritual experience. That said, I am completely grateful for what I've been given.

In an era where we are so pressed for time, into multitasking, and lost for religious/spiritual options that seem to truly "fit" with us, it's no wonder so many people are into yoga. Not only can it offer us exercise, flexibility, strength, balance, grace, relaxation and joy all at once - but it can also turn out to be a kind of "church" you walk into unexpectedly...

The Found Footage Festival

The Found Footage Festival came through town and I just have to say that it was a freaking blast - my face hurt from laughing so hard. Let us join together to request its prompt return to Tucson.

Best of Tucson Querido

Andrew and I cast our vote for Best of Tucson and we wanted to make our love public, especially for places that probably won’t win. They should know they have a special place in our heart anyway.

Best Tourist Attraction: Mount Lemmon

Best Annual Festival: Tucson Eat

Best Park: Reid. Let's face it. They have a duck/turtle pond, dog parks, concerts, an aquatic center, a zoo, marathons, celebrations, a golf course, etc. etc. etc.

Best Public Servant: Janet Napolitano. She rocks!

Best Local TV Newscast: KGUN. We haven’t actually watched any other, but we watch KGUN news every night because we love to make fun of them. We laugh a lot at their technical errors, ridiculous editorial comments and tactless transitions. (For example, Guy on the morning news: "Maybe someday I'll get up that early!") We also have nicks for the newscasters, like Guy Crotchly and Jennifer Waddle.

Best Radio Station for News: KUAZ. Duh.

Best Local Website: TUCSON QUERIDO!!!

Best Bowling Alley: Lucky Strike. Specifically during Cosmic Bowl. The characters there include that guy wearing the "Of course I love you - my dick is hard ain't it?" tee shirt and the pregnant blond wearing pink short shorts, smoking a cigarette.

Best Yoga Studio: Yoga Oasis

Best Auto Repair: Jimmy’s Broadway. Andrew trusts them and says they are good guys.

Best Art Museum: The Center for Creative Photography.

Best Public Art: The Glownut. See photo above.

Best Local Performing Artist: Devotchka

Best Movie Theater: The Loft and Century Park 16. (When you want mainstream, Century Park 16 spells awesome because of the early eighties decor. (We saw Grindhouse there - it was perfect.) Also, it's the only theater I know that got grandfathered in, escaping the no outside food or drink policy.

Best Sports Bar: No Anchovies

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar: I actually don't know and wanted help on this. Are there any Gay/Lesbian bars in Tucson to dance at? If not, could someone address the business need already??

Best Lowbrow Bar Ambiance: The Buffet

Best Cocktail Menu: Kon Tiki

Best Beer Selection on Tap: The Grill

Best Magarita: El Charro, but you have to order it with Patron.

Best Signature Cocktail: The Scorpion from Kon Tiki

Best Liquor Store: Plaza Liquors

Best Delicatessen: The Sausage Deli

Best Burger: The Sueño Burger from Cushing Street

Best sandwich: Anything from The Asian Sandwich Deli

Best Pizza: Andrew says Rocco’s. I say it's the Magpie from Magpie's.

Best Ice Cream: Frost

Best Burrito: El Checo (usually parked near Country Club and Valencia)

Best Sonoron Hot Dogs: El Perro Loco (the one at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet)

Best Diner: The Grill. Let's face it: it's the most convenient way to get a bite after a show, they have live music, they have a great beer selection, it's the most supremely grunge/trendy ambiance you could possibly muster, and celebs walk in when you least expect it. (We saw Bill Irwin there when he was in town to do Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Kathleen Turner.)

Best Indian: Sher-E-Punjab

Best Italian: Giacomo’s

Best Middle Eastern: Sinbad’s

Best Steakhouse: Flemming’s

Best Sushi: Sushi King

Best Outdoor Seating: Cushing Street

Best Late-Night Eats: The Grill

Best Vietnamese: Miss Saigon

Best Mexican Fast Food: The Taco Shop

Best Veggie Burger: Bentley’s. Get it with everything.

Best Café Hangout: Espresso Art.

Best Used Bookstore: Bookman’s. And I’m not just saying that because they publish me on their new website. They allow dogs.

Best Video Store: Casa Video. Owned by Iowans who moved to Tucson to make their video store dreams come true. Authentically indie.

Best Women’s Fashions: Toque de Pasión. It carries Latin American folk chic while honoring fair trade and it's the only store in the US that carries my favorite Paraguayan designer, Pombero. (Thanks to moi!)

Best Resale Clothing: Buffalo Exchange

Best Artesian Jewelry: Toque de Pasión

Best Bike Shop: Fairwheel Bikes. They are nice to me.