Breaking Habits

_C1_5148.JPGFayetteville’s Dickson Street SpringFest kicked off on a chilly Saturday morning with a 5k-run and pancakes, but what really brought out the crowds was the dog parade. Around a hundred owners trailed four-legged parade participants ranging in size from Great-Dane-level behemoths to a literal handful – lots of “awwwwww”s from the crowd for this little guy named Toad. You can’t beat puppies.

_C1_5054.JPGThings were a bit livelier after that. Local bands featuring a ukulele, a mandolin, a clarinet and several guitars filled the block with alternately high-tempo and saucy folk music. Hundreds of people milled between a beer garden and booths selling crafts and kettle corn and clothing. Dogs and kids scampered around their parents’ feet.




_C1_5099.JPGBut one booth was quiet. The banner above it declared the Breaking Habits Crew brings true hip-hop culture to northwest Arkansas. Half a dozen guys did some sporadic breakdancing (or just “breaking,” in the official lingo) on a roll-out dance mat, enough activity to draw a crowd every now and then, but they put their real performance on hold during a string of back luck.

At first, they seemed hesitant to sonically compete with the folk music a couple hundred feet away. Then the car battery they brought wasn’t powering their speakers for some reason. Then another band started. Then the new gasoline generator a member left to buy wouldn’t work no matter where its many switches were set. Then there were the bed races. The rest of the festival wasn’t stopping. One of the guys joked God just wasn’t in the mood for them.




_C1_5839.JPGAfter four hours or so, a break finally came: an old boombox connected to a phone. Work with what you have. The guys made up for the wait with gusto, launching into flips and twists and quick, segmented moves that traveled through their bodies one joint at a time. The display was definitely worth the wait.






_C1_5445.JPGThanks for looking,


Block Party

_C1_0813Well, we’ve reached my 100th post on this site since I refocused it in August 2013. This site has come a long way since then, I think. Thanks for sticking around.

This round of photos is from Sunday’s Block Street Block Party, an annual bash between Fayetteville’s downtown square and bar row on Dickson Street. They say 15,000 people in all crowd into three blocks of food, music, art and beer gardens.


_C1_0886My dad will like this: About five minutes after I got there, I was astounded to see these two dogs.

_C1_0765You might remember I posted a story last summer about my dog Shady after she died. We got her from the Humane Society and never knew for sure what breed or mix she was. These two boys, other than being slightly smaller, are identical to her. I couldn’t believe it.

The owner said they’re English Cocker Spaniels, though I’m slightly skeptical, given how different those spaniels can look. It was enough to see and pet them a little while; for a second, it was like Shady was in front of me again.






_C1_0759Here’s to another hundred! Thanks for looking.


Evening Storms

_C1_8253Let’s talk about lightning, a high-power tendril of electric current that, as they say, can be five times as hot as the Sun’s surface — a blast of the cosmic right over our heads. The strongest bolts can have billion-volt potentials and carry enough energy to power a good-sized home for a month. They seem to be propelled by what we call static electricity on a massive scale, but researchers still don’t know exactly how they happen. Lightning also branches into the surreal, with so-called “sprites,” “elves” and “jets” of red, green and blue light reaching tens of miles toward space.

I haven’t had a chance to photograph lightning since a year ago. I’ve gotten better with the mechanics — narrow aperture, focus not quite on infinity, long exposure — but timing is still mostly luck, at least the way I’m doing it. Lots of frames of empty sky Friday night, when I took the photo above up in Rogers. I don’t know if there’s any avoiding that. I was so dang happy to get that photo.

I waited to post it because the forecast called for storms all weekend — maybe I’d get more chances. In the meantime, I went to Fayetteville’s Springfest, with its live music and short dog parade, and to the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks.




_C1_8404The last time I was at the botanical gardens, it had been below freezing for four days, freezing the fountains’ water into forms I’d never seen before. It was a little different this time around.




_C1_8508This is the bleeding heart flower, which apparently has a short Japanese myth attached to it explaining its striking shape.




_C1_8499I finally got another chance at catching lightning Sunday evening, a nice bookend for the weekend. These were shot from my apartment building, if anyone’s worried I was running out into ongoing storms. I wouldn’t recommend doing that.


_C1_8660Stay safe out there, and thanks for looking.


Dog Time

_C1_4047In northwest Fayetteville lies a wondrous place called Iams Dog Park, where dogs of every breed, size and athletic ability sprint and waddle among their owners every day. Tonight was the first time I’d been there. I missed my dog a bit. Mostly I tried to pet the dogs.


_C1_4080This is Lucy, by the way. She mostly stuck next to the person petting her and snorted a lot. Her owners were pretty cool.


_C1_4039I’ve actually seen this guy before, over in Wilson Park. He was with just two of these dogs then (can’t say which two for sure) and walked with them at each end of the same rope. He seems content with his companions.

_C1_4089And this is Oreo, a little speed demon who could outrun a German shepherd if a ball was in front of her.




_C1_4151Pretty soon here I imagine fewer people will be making their way out to the dog park; this week’s highs are expected to drop into the 30s. Fall’s foliage game is still strong, though.



_C1_3938And just one last image for you, something that makes me laugh every time I see it:

_C1_3937Thanks for looking!