Archive for July, 2014

  • Picture perfect: Prescott Film Festival returns for fifth screening

    Jul 4, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio15 CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood At her friend’s side, Helen Stephenson offered condolences to a man who’d survived a heart attack and open heart surgery earlier that morning. And Chris David, that man, was having none of it. “The meeting was that afternoon,” David explained weeks after that day in May. “I was trying to give her as many instructions as I could.” Later that day, Stephenson and David’s wife, Pat, recounted the story to a group of people who, after expressing sympathy, voiced disbelief. “That’s how important it is to him,” Stephenson said. “I think there’s a movie in this.” And she’d know. That’s why they’d gathered — to talk about movies. Well, not just any movies: This not-so-clandestine coterie had assembled to make selections for the fifth annual Prescott Film Festival, which runs July 23-27. After watching more than 200 shorts and feature-length narratives and documentaries, it was time for festival founder and executive director Stephenson’s jury to plot a silver screen gala. Because, as they say, the show must go on.   Intention & evolution The Prescott Film Festival wasn’t so much channeled from a muse as it was extrapolated from a musing. “A friend and I were walking downtown in the summer of 2008, and we just started talking about film festivals,” Stephenson said. “We decided Prescott is just so darn cute that it needs its own film

  • Travelerisms: Part II

    Jul 4, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster Everyone says that you never know what you’re going to run into overseas.  Even more importantly, you never know who you’re going to run into. Money: Traveler’s cheques are pretty useless anymore. ATMs are everywhere. The more tourists a place sees, the more likely it is to accept credit cards. But always have a decent amount of local cash on hand. For example, outside the big cities, gas stations in Turkey don’t accept credit cards: only cash. Watch your denominations. When a local currency boasts lots of zeros, it’s easy to lose track of what your cost should be. Don’t let yourself be rushed when counting your change. Always check your receipt after you have signed and your copy is returned to you. Make sure the amount hasn’t been altered. As in, for example, that 40 percent tip you didn’t write in or the expensive wine you never ordered. One scam is to adjust calculators in small shops so that they add an extra five or 10 percent to your bill. If confronted, the proprietor will exclaim, “Oh, that one must be broken.” Be aware. Food: Where can you find the best, most reasonably priced, most filling meal for the money overseas? Any Chinese buffet restaurant. Lotsa food, much of it familiar, at fair to downright cheap prices. Why? Because visitors to other countries don’t eat

  • News From the Wilds: July 2014

    Jul 4, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds3,543 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris By the beginning of July, all of the denizens of the Central Highlands are at their most parched and sun-scorched. During a rainless, hot June, with relative humidity reaching as low as one percent, many plants withered, while birds, mammals, and insects scoured the landscape for food and water. But one day in early July, the afternoon stormclouds build to a deep, rumbling gray, and break open, and massive, round raindrops fall on the thirsty land as the wild creatures emerge from their dens to marvel. Though the climate of the Central Highlands can be harsh for part of the year — dry and fire-scorched in early summer, cold and snowy in the winter — these tough times are typically followed by some of our most resplendent seasons. So it is with the annual drought of June, which is followed by the coming of the monsoon rains in July. Especially in years like this one, in which fire danger is very high and the forests are kindling-dry, the first rains are a real cause for celebration. They are, however, something of a mixed blessing — they will bring a second wave of growth and flowering, but in the short term they bring lightning, which, when combined with the low fuel-moistures from a dry June, might lead to a proliferation of new fires. Lightning-storms are some of the

  • Oddly Enough: July 2014

    Jul 4, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly Enough17 CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller The transcontinental railroad built in the United States in the 1860s was a remarkable engineering feat unlike anything else to that point in history. Equally amazing was the fact that all of its bridges, landfills, tools, hardware, and rises were completely constructed by hand. ODDLY ENOUGH … Snowsheds were built along the railroad’s mountain passes to keep the rails free of snow during the winter. One shed ran 28 miles without a break, making it the longest building in the world. Unfortunately, being made of wood, some of these structures caught fire from the wood- and coal-burning trains that passed through or by them. ***** The French first used pencil-sized darts called fléchettes in 1914. These needle-sharp darts were carried in canisters slung under the fuselages of airplanes and released from the cockpit. ODDLY ENOUGH … When dropped from an altitude of 1,500 feet, a fléchette could drive completely through the body of a horse. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Gardening in difficult places

    By Gene Twaronite Gardening is always a challenge. Even in the mildest climates, with abundant rain, keeping our plants alive and looking good is no small achievement. But there are places in this world with such extreme limiting factors as to sorely test even the most determined gardener. Consider Antarctica. You wouldn’t think water would be a limiting factor there as the continent contains 70 percent of the world’s fresh water. Only problem: It’s frozen. There’s not a lot of soil, either. 99.68 percent of the land area is covered by an ice sheet. The mean summer temperature, by the way, is negative 30 degrees C — a considerable stretch for even the cold hardiest garden plants. Gardening on a live volcano also poses challenges. While volcanic soils can be quite fertile, gardeners should be advised to wait at least until the lava cools off and hardens a bit. Although a common roadside plant called noni is one of the first plants to colonize lava flow cracks around Mount Kilauea in Hawaii, no species of plant can tolerate molten rock (so far as we know). It’s also really tough on gardening shoes. Sometimes the challenge lies in a place not commonly thought of as a potential garden.  Sitting on a jetliner one day, I got to thinking about the depressingly boring landscape of its wings and why no one ever

  • Dear Prescott,: A northern neighbor mails a missive

    Jul 4, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By  Jacques Laliberté   ***** A 20-year resident of Prescott, Jacques Laliberté has written for and designed several publications, as well as his own Art-rag. See his fine art work at Society6.Com/DazzlDolls

  • Hold the phone: New technology learns old tricks

    By Paolo Chlebecek What actually happens when you press that magical button on your smartphone and say, “Find me a Cajun restaurant”? Press on and find out. The two most popular options for this kind of request are Seri on Apple iOS devices and Google Now on the Android platform. Siri was not actually developed by Apple. Instead, it came from a vast Artificial Intelligence initiative started in 2003 that was financed by the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) then run by SRI International. The design intended to help military personnel with office work and decision making. The result was called Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes (CALO), an artificially intelligent assistant that could learn from the users and vast amounts of data available to it. Google Now, or Google Voice Search, is an intelligent personal assistant developed from Google Labs that allows someone to use their voice to make a Google query. I enjoy the fact that while there’s no official name for it currently, but it was originally codenamed “Majel,” after Majel Barrett — the wife of Gene Roddenberry, who is well known as the voice of the computer systems from Star Trek movies and TV shows. Google uses the Knowledge Graph, which is derived from many sources, including the CIA World Factbook, Freebase, and the well-used Wikipedia. As of 2012, its semantic network

  • No faddies, please: Time to ditch the top 5 worst diets

    Jul 4, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Holistic Fitness2,905 CommentsRead More »

    By Lauren Antrosiglio Have you been on a diet lately? If not, you probably know someone who has, and with reason. According to the Center for Disease Control, over two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) are overweight or obese. To make matters worse, we’re constantly bombarded with advertising for fast food and unhealthy processed foods. On one hand, the media tempts us with unhealthy foods and drinks, and, on the other, the media propagates images of “perfect” bodies for us to strive for. As a result, the diet industry is booming, our pockets are emptier, and there are tons of new — and potentially dangerous — diets popping up. For your consideration, here’s a guide to the five worst. …   Atkins & Zone diets These diets were made popular in the ’90s. Thousands of people rushed to the grocery store and bought a bazillion hot dogs, hamburgers, pepperoni, cheese, and processed meats in hopes of losing weight. What they did, instead, was clog their arteries and set up themselves for failure. The Atkins and Zone diets not only contain almost 75 percent saturated fat, but they put your body into a state of chronic ketosis. Ketosis is the body’s natural response to a form of starvation in which our body does not get enough plant-derived foods. Putting your body in this state for extended periods of time increases your risk

  • Follow the lettuce: Healthy food incentives give people more fresh local food-purchasing power

    Jul 4, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, The Local BeetNo CommentsRead More »

    By Willie Heineke The high price of fresh local food is a constant challenge across the country, and Prescott is no exception. High prices make buying local produce difficult for many families in our community. In 2012, Food Research and Action Center’s report “Food Hardship in America” ranked Arizona’s 4th Congressional District sixth highest for food hardship rates in Arizona. To address food insecurity, municipal and state governments, non-profit organizations, and private institutions across the country are creating and implementing new programs. One increasingly popular solution is the creation of incentives for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, for short) recipients to buy local, fresh produce. For example the national 501(c)3 organization Wholesome Wave’s Double Voucher Coupon Program matches the value of SNAP dollars when recipients purchase local foods at participating farm-to-retail venues. This means that recipients can buy twice as much at a farmers market, increasing their purchasing power and making it possible to eat healthier while also supporting local agriculture. The city of Seattle also teamed up with a local non-profit organization to create a program that gives a bonus of ten dollars to each recipient when they use their EBT card at participating farmers markets. Because these programs are relatively new, there isn’t a great deal of supportive analysis yet. However, several organizations running these types of programs have commissioned a report with the goal of quantifying the

  • An accidental love story: Mark Rouse pens a ‘Soulless’ novel with soul

    Jul 4, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature21 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following excerpts are from a conversation between the reporter and Mark Rouse, author of “Soulless.”] What’s the story behind the book? The idea was born in 1992 or ’93. I was working on an assembly line and listening to a lot of music. Music is really inspiring to me. So, anyway, I was working and this song came on and it had this weird break. It was a long, really sad song about a guy losing this girl, and he’s really sorry she’s gone, and then there’s this 10 second break and the song picks back up — boom. And I thought it’d be perfect for the ending of a movie. Boom-boom-boom. Ending. That’s where “Soulless” came from. In this story, there’s a young man, a teenager. I should mention that some of the things in the book are things that happened in my life, but it’s not a true-life story or anything like that. So the kid in the story, he doesn’t have feelings anymore. His mother, who was an opera singer passed away when he was 5. His dad is a composer. His uncle was a famous 1980s hair metal rock band guy, who fell off stage and hurt his leg. So this kid goes through life with this numbness; he doesn’t really care about anything. So his uncle gives him an

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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