The Arabian Library

No perpendiculars.

The Arabian Library, a stone’s throw from my home, was designed by Richärd + Bauer architects and opened in 1997. It’s the Scottsdale branch of the Phoenix Public Library and while not large is an architectural thrill.

There are no right angles to be found, with the walls clad in mild steel which is rusting quietly away, conferring the patina. The architects specialize in public libraries, their site attesting to the many awards for their work.

All snaps on the iPhone6 processed in LR.

Pottering about

Doing nothing with a vengeance.

I feel that I have been working like a Welsh Collie all week, or a West Virginia coal miner if you prefer, yet the herd remains in disarray and the coal face has not budged one bit. Such is the process of moving one’s home, one which makes a root canal an event to be gaily anticipated by comparison.

But, on reflection, things have moved forward. Yesterday I spent a pleasant few minutes just pottering about in the garage. ‘Pottering’, an old English tradition, is based in the pretence of being busy but practically achieving nothing. I suspect it originated as a means of avoiding the spouse. I moved a tool from here to there, arranged a few things just so, accomplished exactly nothing and had a heck of a time doing it. I excoriated myself for the 1/8″ drop across the 20′ run of the pegboards on the long wall, but concluded I could live with it. Even Titian’s horizons were imperfectly straight, after all. And gazing on tools here and there, handled with warmth and love, I realized how many were old friends, not given to answering back but just dedicated to doing their job.

When it comes to tools, the toolbox is the mechanic’s worst enemy. A tool not on display is a tool lost. This is the right way:

This does not just happen ….

I am so used to the layout of these pegboards that it’s a simple matter when moving to take a few snaps then recreate the result. That’s not to say it’s a speedy process and, in fairness, rushing the disposition of old friends along the acres of boards with holes and pegs would be poor judgment indeed.

Next, for one sadly never blessed with stereoscopic vision thanks to a poorly corrected childhood squint (you really do not want me pouring red wine over a white tablecloth at dinner), is this millimeter-perfect high tech positioning tool, one with laser precision which would nevertheless warm Fred Perry’s heart:

Drive in, center the ball on the steering wheel, touch gently.

Have you priced body parts on a 911 recently?

Finally, after falling flat on my face on the step in the garage many times, one rendered invisible by the mottled brown epoxy garage floor, I went to trusty Amazon (because you cannot find this at Home Depot or Lowe’s – which is why they will die) and bought some broad gaffer’s tape, beloved of professional cinematographers, for it clings like a politician to his donors and leaves no residue, with this happy result:

No more Garage Language.

Now, as I make my way through the new manse on a Friday night, the cares of the world a distant memory, I realize that maybe things are really moving along jolly well after all. The Engineer’s Curse is one that sees his love of accuracy forever dominated by his desire for precision. Tonight accuracy was the winner, as it always should be.

Phoenix, Sunday


It’s a balmy 99F in downtown Phoenix right now and while the city may rise from the ashes tomorrow right now it is empty.

Some snaps showing the old and the new from this former wild west town:


High noon shadows.

Brutalist architecture.

More of the same.

Tour guide.

Post modernism.

Lone cactus.


Old time parking.

Hard Rock Café.

High rent district.

Old Town Hall. A mix of neo-classical and Spanish Colonial styles the gaol is on the top floor. It’s an office building today, mercifully preserved. Completed in 1929.

The beautiful facade. The top floor gaol bars are clearly visible – explained to me by one of Phoenix’s finest who was on patrol.

Filigree cast iron detail.

All snaps on the iPhone 6, messed about with in LR.