March 8, 2007: In Scottsdale / Phoenix this week. This area is 20% beautiful and 80% ugly. The beautiful parts (red rocks, cactii, big sky) are just lovely, but the ugly parts more than make up for it in the brutal inhumanity of their aggressive greed. Capitalist geography at its most misanthropic.

Anyhow, I was wandering around in a bit of the 20% (specifically, the Desert Botanical Garden) when two Japanese tourists approached me with the universal sign for "please take our picture" (i.e. holding a camera out and gesturing at the panorama behind them). I happily obliged and only realized after snapping the pic and wandering off that only one of them had posed. So, what I'm still wondering 12 hours later in my hotel room is: why didn't she ask her friend to take her picture? Is her friend a pathologically bad photographer? Or is it somehow that having your picture taken (i.e. by someone not of your party) is more important than the photo itself? Anyone have an idea?