ZooLights 2014 Sunday, Nov 30 2014 

ZooLight Reflections

ZooLight Reflections

By renewing our Phoenix Zoo annual membership, we received two tickets for ZooLights. We shared last Friday’s outing with my sister-in-law who hosted the family Thanksgiving dinner. According to the Zoo’s web page there are 700 displays with 3.8 million lights. The well conceived displays take many forms. Some show movement. A monkey, for example, swings from tree to tree. An eagle leaves its perch to dive into a stream to catch a fish and flies off with it. A snake slithers on the ground. A bear finds honey in a bee’s nest. Butterflies flap their wings. In the middle of the lake a giant ball changes color in response to a musical selection which is choreographed with lights turning on and off in trees surrounding the lake. Reflections on the water heighten the visual experience of the ball and lighted trees. Individual displays include a field of playful penguins and the face of a gorilla. Lighted representations of a zebra and giraffes can be found near the exhibits of those animals. The trunk and limbs of large trees are covered with lights, some are monochrome, others multicolored. SRP, the Salt River Project which is Arizona’s largest utility, is a major sponsor of ZooLights and features a tree that shows daily per capita use of 133 gallons of water. Jengo, the Talking Giraffe, is always entertaining. This year Tortuga, the Talking Galapagos Tortoise, joined the fun. As we departed, I enjoyed the changing colors of the water-bugs in the moat while my sister-in-law successfully found her name on her brick on the walkway. ZooLights is a whole different way to see the Phoenix Zoo.

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William Wolfram with the Phoenix Symphony Monday, Nov 24 2014 

American pianist William Wolfram demonstrated his versatile piano technique with the Phoenix Symphony this past Saturday evening. This internationally acclaimed soloist played the Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15 by Johannes Brahms.The complicated and captivating concerto is divided into three movements. In the Adagio, the second movement, the bassoons introduced the theme. Our seats allowed for perfect viewing of Wolfram’s hands, and observing some of his nervous habits.

Interestingly, Music Director Laureate Michael Christie returned to Phoenix for this concert. The first selection for the evening was Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Opus 21.This piece is divided into four movements and gives prominence to the wind instruments. Another enjoyable evening with the Phoenix Symphony.

American Ranch Trail Sunday, Nov 9 2014 

Granite Mountain

Granite Mountain

American Ranch Trail, our eighth 2014 “Take a Hike!” trail, is yet another trail that we would not have discovered on our own. The trail head is located just beyond Blackjack Ridge Road with parking on grass adjacent to the Williamson Valley Road 8.2 miles from Iron Springs Road. American Ranch, an equestrian master planned community, provided the easement for this flat trail which varies only about 50 feet from the trail head at 5,060 feet above sea level. Red leaves on a maple showed that it is fall. Friendly horses greeted us as we hiked through this interesting community. Burned areas from the Doce Fire of 2013 exist close to some homes. The trail leads into the Granite Mountain Wilderness and junctions with the Tin Trough Springs Trail #308 that we have previously hiked. Signs at the junction indicate that this trail is #400. A great hike that we learned about through the 2014 Hiking Spree sponsored by the Highlands Center for Natural History et al.

Prescott Chess Club Quads #2 Sunday, Nov 9 2014 

Prescott Quads #2

Prescott Quads #2

Jeff Hardin, Prescott, and James Briggs, Chino Valley, tied for 1st in Section A of the Prescott Quads #2 chess tournament. They split $65 for their two wins a draw in their individual encounter.

This U. S. Chess Federation rated event was held at Yavapai College on Saturday, November 8th. The chess tournament was divided into three sections based on over-the-board ratings.

In the Section B, Thomas Keenan and David Steeves, both from Prescott, split the $65 prize money. They each won two games and drew with one another.

In Section C, Phillip Ebarb, Prescott, won $45 for his perfect 3-0 record. Justin Olague, Prescott, received $20 for his second place finish with two wins and one loss.

2014 Arizona Senior Chess Championship Monday, Nov 3 2014 

AZ Senior 5th Rd

AZ Senior Chess Tourney 5th Rd

The 2014 Arizona Senior Chess Championship was held this past weekend at the Tucson Holiday Inn Palo Verde. Five players tied for 1st place and split $550 with 4-1 records. 33 players age 50 and over played in this five round event, the largest turnout for this annual Arizona chess tournament since it started in 2009. One of the winners, John Irwin, also received the plaque for top Arizona senior for the third consecutive year. Other co-winners include Laurance Wutt, Colorado, Jan Romanski, playing in his first rated chess tournament since 1986, Stephen Farmer, and Ralph Dudy. I got a great start with a win and draw, but my age seemed to contribute to fatigue during my third game late on Saturday. First, I missed a four move checkmate. Then, I turned down my opponent’s draw offer in a bishop of opposite color ending only to find a way to lose. The band for the Paulina Robledo Quincendera Saturday night invaded our room with pulsating sound. In the quiet Sunday morning round, I lost to Jan Jones who finished 3.5-1.5 and won the Best 60+ plaque. Fortunately, I recovered enough steam to win my fifth round game and finish like last year with a 2.5-2.5 record. Henry Ebarb, Prescott, had another outstanding chess tournament. His 3-2 score earned him the Best 70+ plaque and improved his rating from 1592 to 1623. He is showing that age doesn’t need to impede one’s chess progress. A special thank you to Enrique Huerta and the Southern Arizona Chess Association for holding this annual chess tournament.