2011 is fading fast, and like lots of other self-appointed pop culture pundits and eloquent narcissists, I’d like to present my list of “My Ten Favorite Things of 2011.”
10. Haboobs: “Haboob” is Arabic for “strong wind.” It’s basically a big dust storm, and we had some fabulous ones here in Phoenix this year. As you can see in videos of the July storms, they can be quite apocalyptic-looking. Coool.
9. Foreigner/Journey concert: Speaking of storms, there was a particularly nasty thunder and rain storm the night of this show at Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion (gawd, that name sucks). You can read my review of the show itself here, but what made this concert so memorable for me was that I attended it with my girlfriend, my best friend Ben, and his girlfriend in a rare double date.
8.Phoenix Comicon: I always have fun at this pop culture convention, but this year’s was über-cool because I ran into so many celebs. Not only did my girlfriend – an ardent Arizona Ghostbuster – get to meet and take photos with Ernie Hudson (Winston Zedmore in the Ghostbuster films) and William Atherton (Walter Peck in the first film), but we also ran into Stan “The Man” Lee while we had faces full of chili dogs. I also encountered actors Nicholas Brandon (Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Billy Dee Williams in the host hotel at different points, both in their pajamas (green-and-white plaid flannel for Brandon; dark blue satin with gold stars for Williams).
7. Midori’s performance at Fetish Revolution 11: My girlfriend and I met Midori – a world-renowned sex educator and folk-fetish artist – at the Alwun House during their annual Exotic Art Show. She recruited us to take photos of her performance at Fetish Revolution 11 the following night, and I was glad we did, because it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen at a fetish event — even if most of the rest of the audience didn’t “get it.”
6. Bisbee, Arizona: My girlfriend and I visited this quirky, artsy former mining boom town in southern Arizona for our three-year anniversary in June. We spent three days there, and never had a dull moment. There are too many bars, art galleries, historic spots, and funky museums for that. I particularly enjoyed chatting up the bartender in “Arizona’s smallest bar,” a single room in the Silver King Hotel.
5. Doctor Who season six: This season had so many twists and turns, and a big mind-bomb near the end. I spent months wondering who River Song was, and when it was finally revealed, my head damn near exploded. Well done, British television. Well done.
4. Helicopter ride and tour of Four Peaks Amethyst Mine: Twice a year, Sami Fine Jewelry arranges helicopter tours of Four Peaks Amethyst Mine, where they get many of their fine gems. The mine’s at the top of a peak and is only accessible by helicopter (or a hellacious all-day hike). I had the opportunity to take the ‘copter ride and tour in April, and to dig and pick some amethyst from the walls of the mine myself. I cleaned the nicest gem and made a necklace for my mom for mother’s day.
3. Midwest road trip with mom: Speaking of mom, she and I took a trip to the Midwest together in late April/early May to see family and old friends. Neither of us had been back for several years. My mother and I live in separate cities, so I only get to see her every couple of months, and it was nice to spend a lot of time together. We flew into Indianapolis, rented a car, stayed a few days, drove to Illinois, stayed several days, and drove back to Indy before flying back to AZ. It was so nice to see our friends and family, and experience things like trying to survive the potholes and beat the sunset through scary Gary, Indiana.
2. Air Sex World Championships: Air sex is similar to air guitar, but instead of pretending to play a six-string instrument, performers mime making out and getting it on with an invisible partner (or two). It’s hilarious to watch and exhilarating to do (oh yes, I did).
1. Launching this blog and finally getting my domain name back: I’ve had a WordPress blog for a few years, but when I decided to launch The Phoenix Edge in October, I wiped out all my old entries and started from scratch. It felt good to start over and focus on the things that interest me, from my own weirdo perspective. I also reclaimed my domain name in October and built a website, but it could use an upgrade. Looks like I have a New Year’s resolution.