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Arizona Deep-Fried State Fair.

State fairs are an excellent way to "take stock" in what a particular region has to offer in the way of its people, its commerce, its agriculture, and OHMIGOD IT'S FUNNEL CAKE!!!! State fairs are also an excellent place to ingest combinatorial fat, salt, and sugar objects and then excitedly hurl them to the ground an hour later while riding The Wilde Maus or even a thrill ride spelled correctly. You'll never gain a pound at the State fair.

train layout: Swift

1. Here we are, approaching the state fair via Amtrak. No! I am just kidding, so early in the proceedings! This was an extremely large model train layout behind glass. We're looking at the local Swift meat packing plant, replete with tiny plastic cows. Gustavus Swift began processing pork and beef products in 1855, and has been one of the most trusted brands of deli meats unless there are more trusted brands, usurpers to the throne of meaty trust. Personally, I don't trust meat, in general, it seems rather shifty-eyed.

train layout w/ferris wheel

This was roughly one-half of the big train layout. In the distance you can see a ferris wheel, and when we wrap this whole piece up I might close with a shot of an actual Arizona State Fair ferris wheel. Or I might close with some meat, because we opened with meat. But I didn't take any shots of meat at night, and the photos will progress from the day to the night -- day meat in a nighttime section is going to kind of look weird, sort of like the horribly-edited montage ending of Girl on a Motorcycle. So I'll have to think about that for awhile. Meat. Wheel. Meat ... wheel.

window stickers

Window stickers. I haven't seen any of these around town ... what I have seen are the "family" stickers, wherein you make this custom sticker consisting of a mother, a father, and the kids, all drawn as stick figures. That's big around here. None of them are urinating on other things, however, so I don't really see the appeal.

Footsie Wootsie

I call this photo "Country Boy and City Boy Take A Ride." These chairs are in reality powerful medical devices, marketed under the general brand name "Footsie Wootsie." I can think of a few other names, like The Footinator, Vibra-O-Feets, Insert Coin, Smell Invaders, My Feet Hurt Give Me A Quarter, Don't Put Your Face On The Footplate, Stupidsie Woopidsie, This Device Will Not "Shake Loose" Your Impacted Wisdom Tooth, Back In The Olden Days A Quarter Would Get You Dinner Plus A Slice Of Pie And They Call This Progress, Welcome To The Pinnacle Of Progress For The The Twenty-First Century Although Alternatively You Could Push Your Genitals Up Against A Wildly-Bucking Washing Machine With An Unbalanced Load And That's Fwee.

That was pretty tepid, I'll come back and brighten it up later. 2007? Sure.

That used to be my nickname, by the way. "Unbalanced Load" or "UL." Seriously.


The rodeo. They were in the middle of a horse-roping contest, and the commentators had been advised to strictly follow the much-revered "Morning DJ" format. They even had a sampling board! It was like a dream state. Fair. The horse was bucking all over the place and eventually one of the cowpokes roped it and they led it off, but not before one of the cowboys reached over and took a white belt off the horse's backside. I had no idea what it was, but right then the girlfriend tells me it's a "bucking strap," [1 | 2] a device fastened onto a horse used to irritate the groin and cause them to buck. Suddenly I never wanted to see a rodeo ever again, and sort of tuned out for awhile. Then we left, but not before getting a photo of the whole thing along with the sad puffed-up eagle flag (right).

taffy machine

All state fairs have a "commercial" area where small-time business people ply their wares, most of which are sketchy and somehow strange. Not the taffy people, though. I'm sure the taffy booth did gangbuster business, kids were stopping in mid-stride, hypnotized by the smoothly-turning prongs of the taffy machine. This booth was also at the California State Fair last year, and I took a photo of it there as well. It had everything that fires the pleasure centers of my brain -- undulating, gleaming machinery, hand-drawn type, candy.

Musical automaton

No. Nooooooooooooooooo. It cannot BE. The Personality Analysis Televac 62000? This is absolutely insane. I remember this thing from when I was seven years old, my mom would drag me to the big yearly "Home and Garden Show" and of course they had the Commercial Ghetto as well.

Mystic Ray

How does this exist now? How is this possible? My PC, which is so old it could be sold on Ebay for negative money, has at least the computing power of 62,000 Televac 62000s. I can order weird toys from Japan in computer-translated Japanese/English on my computer RIGHT NOW and you're going to sell me some randomly-generated "Lucko" numbers for A DOLLAR EXTRA?

I think the partially-obscured sign reads "ENGLISH OR ESCAPE." Wait a second ... "Televac." VACUUM TUBES? Oh, that is the living end. You know this whole thing could be replaced by 20 lines of C code.

Mystic Ray hand

I "entered" "later" and "won" a bow window.

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