The single most impressive thing about Phoenix Arizona is the Rental Car Terminal. Intelligent design has a special place in my heart. The thing that brought me down was the emptiness. Phoenix is a lonely city- all dressed up and waiting for a party to happen, it seems, and everyone is a no-show. The glimmering mini skyscrapers seem to be populated only by the palm trees which surround them. It's a scene out of Grand Theft Auto if I ever saw one. The boring flat landscape is made interesting with shiny hollow trophies of an era which probably ended a little after Y2K and the bottom falling out of tech stocks. I'm well aware of the mountains, canyons and natural beauty that is beyond the perfectly linear matrix of streets, and I begin to wonder if maybe that's where everyone went. Severe time limits prevented me from finding a bike to rent and from exploring the roads for hours like I wanted to. Shit, I only put 30 miles on my rental car for that matter. Phoenix has an abundance of billboards. Some one is getting very rich selling space to all the corporations who pine for your attention. I detest them, almost as much as the car dealer ads on the radio.. You know, the loud ones that sound like you're listening to the preview of an epic movie, followed by a fast talker who reads all the fine print of that zero down zero interest deal that ends tomorrow.. Car dealers are slime, just like billboard owners. One is engaged in noise pollution, the other in sight pollution. Way to make an ugly place uglier Phoenix! I did not turn on my car radio, for reasons I just described.. But you can't close your eyes while driving. I lied there's something else I liked about Phoenix- the Metro running up and down Central Ave is a slick set-up. There's even a car where bicyclists can hang their bikes from the ceiling- a nice touch but one which I can't understand. The climate is near perfect and the roads are perfectly smooth and flat. Why bother jumping on a tram when you're already on your bike in the first place?
The Convention Center is a LEED Silver certified building which is respectable.. LEED and Green construction practices were frequent topics discussed at the trade show I attended in Phoenix. A speaker in one of the workshops I attended said something pretty dramatic:
"In 20 years, 1/3 of the jobs available today will be gone, and 1/2 of them will be replaced by Green-collar jobs". My profession engages me in the construction and renovation of high performance green schools. This is stuff I care about. Furnishing $5 million hi-rise condos on Beacon Street with expensive and exotic woodwork does not turn my crank. Furnishing a public educational facility with responsibly forested, locally harvested and low VOC emitting woodwork, does interest me, immensely.
I will board my flight here in Detroit shortly. My new Blackberry 8900 is junk- I'm trading up to a BOLD. Time to play some Word Mole. Thanks for reading.
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