May 31, 2005

That settles it; I'm moving to 5th and Rosemont. Char's Thai Restaurant (5039 E. 5th) has been hailed by local foodies as the best Thai in Tucson, and it's the only Thai I've tried here, but if something better does exist, I'm not rushing out to find it.

My panang neau wasn't smashing-looking enough to take a picture of, otherwise I would have. I'm not a presentation queen though; with me taste is the bottom line, and this was one incredibly satisfying meal. And, figuring in tax, it came out to under $10 WITH a thai iced coffee!

The other great thing about this block (and this particular shopping center) is that a few stores away from Char's is (wait for it) Feig's Kosher Market & Deli. They sell three different kinds of macaroons! I'll be back for sure.

May 30, 2005

While everyone else is commemorating Memorial Day, I'm memorializing THE REAL AMERICA (dude) by playing lots of Randy Newman. Cuz there's no greater American success story than this guy. And Crazy Eddie. Who, come to think of it, didn't end up so successful. Randy, meanwhile, is living high on the treyf L.A. schweinfleisch (Babe: Pig in the City!) and laughing all the way to the liberal jew-run bank. God bless the U.S. of A.

Randy Newman - "Rider in the Rain"
Randy Newman - "God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)"

May 29, 2005


Originally uploaded by jta390.

May 28, 2005 poster Luther has some valuable advice regarding job-hunt anxiety among people with Asperger's ("Aspies"):

I was unemployable or close to it for many years because I couldn't ask for a job. It's still the hardest thing. I am always convinced that the new work environment will match my worst nightmare, and some of them have. My experience is in two-bit disposable jobs because I can't go near the corporate environment without breaking into hives.

It has been helpful but not easy for me to learn some of these things from experience:

There are people who will hire you because they like you, without looking at your resume or calling your references. Your personal presentation is more important than what's on your resume.

A letter of reference from a former employer is worth its weight in gold.

Eye contact might hurt, burn, and sting, but force yourself to do it.

Also, force yourself to keep talking, and calling back at least once a week. Ignore the inner voice that says you are bothering someone by being aggressive.

And force yourself to describe your good points. Talk about what you're good at. Even if it sounds stupid and goes totally against your grain.

Smile and say you want the job in the worst way. Act excited, animated, and enthusiastic even if it's just an act. Aspie traits are easy to mistake for dullness.

Watch Napoleon Dynamite. Find humor in your dilemma.

If you're passing by a place and think, "I could enjoy working there," grab the opportunity to stroll in while you're feeling relaxed and confident, introduce yourself and proclaim that you sure would like a job.

Pretend to yourself that it's no big deal; try to get into a relaxed, confident headspace.

Don't start your spiel till you are talking to the hiring manager. The others can be considered the discouragement fraternity and will misrepresent your interests or even discard your application, or just tell the boss you're weird.

I am no expert, but I've gotten lots of jobs, mostly against my own wishes, but I have to eat. Obviously I only kept one--the one I have right now.

Based on my experience I doubt that I will ever be able to keep a job permanently. I do not tell an employer that. I always lie and say I want the job for at least two or three years.

I just learned I am an aspie, before that I had other less plausible explanations for my so-called life. I am thinking seriously about telling my next potential employer that I am autistic. I think it would help, and maybe screen out intolerant bosses from hiring me just so they'll have someone to persecute.

Operation Desert Storm

Operation Desert Storm
Originally uploaded by stockholm cindy.
From my building E terrace, facing building F. You can see the rain trickling down from the slight leak in the roof.

I'm not homesick in the least, but when I am, I'll think of Al Stewart's "In Brooklyn" and smile.

May 27, 2005


The National Weather Service in Tucson has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for...
north central Pima County in Arizona
south central Pinal County in Arizona

* until 715 PM MST

* at 629 PM MST... National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing nickel size hail... and
damaging winds in excess of 60 mph. This storm was located 13
miles southwest of Eloy... or about 22 miles south of Casa Grande...
and moving east at 10 mph.

* The severe thunderstorm will be near...
Eloy at 650 PM MST
rural northern Pima County at 710 PM MST

In addition to large hail and damaging winds... continuous cloud to
ground lightning is occurring with this storm. Move indoors
immediately! Lightning is one of natures number one killers.
Remember... if you can hear thunder... you are close enough to be
struck by lightning.

May 26, 2005

Favorites (May wrap-up):

1) The bring-your-own-bottle water kiosks in Tucson parking lots -- 25 cents for a gallon of great-tasting filtered water (not necessarily cold, but when you're dehydrated, any water will bring immediate relief) (but it must be said that the tap water here isn't so drinkable).

2) Following from that... Glaceau SmartWater. Vapor-distilled (so it looks and tastes really clean, much more so than any other bottled water on the market) and enriched with electrolytes (which you need to keep replacing when you're overexerting yourself in dangerously hot weather). Way better for you than sugary Gatorade. My Trader Joe's sells it deliciously cold for 99 cents a liter.

3) Vitamin Water (also by Glaceau) and Propel Fitness Water (by Gatorade; it's low-calorie, low-carb, low-sugar, vitamin-enhanced, and naturally flavored). Hella refreshing.

4) Diet Dr. Pepper. Almost as ubiquitous here as Diet Coke. I want some right now, and I want it COLD.

5) Three-way tie: the espresso shake from Bentley's, the Frosty Dairy Dessert from Wendy's, and the raspberry frozen yogurt from Penguin's.

Aww, how adorable is the pre-teen Frances Bean? Reminds me of a pre-anorexia, pre-albino Lindsay Lohan. (via Cityrag)

May 25, 2005

Bought a couple of LPs at Bookmans this evening. I probably paid too much for The Mason Williams Phonograph Record and Ron Wood's I've Got My Own Album to Do (which, heck, I've been looking for anyway), but considering that my third find, Jon Wilcox's Stages of My Life (1972; from Sharon, Connecticut's Folk-Legacy Records) sells for as much as $15 on the internet, I don't feel so bad about the $4 I spent on that.

Front cover shot:

You know you've scored when you've found a rare LP that still has its original inserts. This came with a lyric booklet (yes, a booklet, and there are Wilcox-penned liner notes in there too, all in IBM Selectric type), and a typed index card with the Folk-Legacy address on one side and a mailing list/catalog request form on the other.

The booklet:

May 23, 2005

The following is a public service announcement from the tummy of JBR: If you find yourself living on (or even visiting!) the north-central side of Tucson, say within walking distance of First and Ft. Lowell, get yourself some Taco Bron immediately.

This here is the Quesadilla Sierra Madre (queso blanco, pork chorizo, grilled poblano peppers, scallions, and the pico de gallo that was on the side).

But two things sold me on the place: (a) the high quality of the tortilla chips (always a mark of a Mexican restaurant that takes itself seriously), crunchy yet obviously fresh, and just oily enough, as a chip should be (b) the presence on the menu of queso fundido (pork fat held together in a glob of melted cheese; if you're not vegan, you'll probably agree that this is the closest thing you'll find to heaven on earth). The cheap beers & margaritas -- they're just gravy, my friend.

Here's a picture of their shrimp taco, which I'll need to try next time (and if I have my way, there'll be many next times).

May 21, 2005

It's not that the Screaming Trees were one of the most misunderstood bands of the grunge era (what's there to misunderstand about grunge at all?), it's that mainstream success eluded them by such a narrow margin that today most music fans only remember the Trees as a footnote, possibly something to make fun of when drunk and nostalgic. And should we not make fun of grunge? No, by all means, we should -- as a culture, as a marketing term, and a lot of the time, as a music. But I still maintain that the '88/'89/'90 guys were on to something and if the Pacific Northwest fell into the ocean after that it'd leave us the best musical legacy EVER. Even casual listeners know what I mean: the highlight of the Singles OST was Mother Love Bone's "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns," the little-bit-trashpunk/little-bit-countryblues/little-bit-hairmetal epic ballad that owed more to Nazareth's "Love Hurts" and Vince Neil than to Black Sabbath and rain and espresso.

The Screaming Trees, on the other hand, were all about the doom and gloom and bluesy sludge, but singer Mark Lanegan (as he still is as a solo guy) was pretty smart about it. He's one of those musicians that can hold tight to his own unique sound while doing faithful tributes to his influences. Recently I found a homebrew comp called Old Growth: B-Sides, Covers, and Unreleased (2005; supposedly meant to be a companion to the official band anthology coming out in late May), and while the cover choices themselves aren't that mindblowing by music-geek standards ("Morning Dew," "Peace in the Valley," "Tales of Brave Ulysses"), they prove that a band doesn't have to do "wacky" deconstructive covers to make their interpretations serve some greater philosophical purpose than "we felt like it." As for their originals, the Trees never surpassed their 1990 Change Has Come EP. Take the urban stoner finesse of Urge Overkill, remove any obvious traces of '90s ironic humor, replace with the diligent machine-head of Deep Purple locked in a metallic prog groove, and add Lanegan's double-tracked baritone voice, way more buttery and ingratiating than something so... husky... should generally be.

Screaming Trees - Change Has Come EP (1990)
01- "Change Has Come"
02- "Days"
03- "Flashes"
04- "Time Speaks Her Golden Tongue"
05- "I've Seen You Before"

(If you like these, it would behoove you to SUPPORT ALTURNATIV ROCK and purchase Ocean Of Confusion - Songs Of Screaming Trees 1989-1996. Or, if you don't think Sony is indie enuf, go track down the mid-to-late '80s Velvetone/SST/Sub Pop releases.)

Weekend happenings from Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn:

THIS WEEKEND: AN EVENING OF VINTAGE HOME MOVIES from the archives of JOAN VORDERBRUGGEN with live music by BRIAN DEWAN. Featuring touching and deliciously perverted family scenes such as: Guns and Kids (look at 'em go); Vapor Harmful (teenage gas huffin' late 70's); The Susie Reel (exploits from a milk crate of found footage of one affluent family spanning 30 years); Hollywood Hopeful and Dinner at Ate (soft core pornography super 8's stolen from a porn booth in San Francisco mid 70's); Americana (3 different found home movie standard 8's with soldiers, horse races, drinkin', women, babies from the 40's); Halloween Drinking Party (home movie mid 60's) Renaissance man Brian Dewan will provide an ongoing musical commentary aided by piano, toys and instruments as of yet not known to mankind. Sunday May 22nd at 9 p.m.

May 20, 2005

Something I've learned about getting around in Tucson: If you can't find the street you're looking for, and you've been walking/driving/riding the bus in that direction for a long time with no success, and you're sure you're going the wrong way... you aren't. Just keep going. Inevitably, your destination is five blocks past the point where you get frustrated and give up.

This has happened to me three times already. Note to self: Buy a damn Thomas Guide already.

A few southwest songs:

Rory Gallagher - "Tucson, Arizona"
Rex Allen - "My Dear Old Arizona Home"
Pat Benatar - "Painted Desert"
Peter & Gordon - "3:10 to Yuma"
Gun Club - "Gila Monster, New Mexico/Preaching Blues"

May 19, 2005

This is Louise.

May 16, 2005

Hi from Phoenix. I'll be on my way to Tucson later today, but I have a little downtime and a strong wireless connection, and I've been spending the morning uploading some cameraphone pics to my Flickr page. Here for the works, here for Arizona specifically (many more of those to come).

May 13, 2005

hello from the road:

May 12, 2005

Busy weekend ahead = little time for blogging. But while I'm getting ready for my cross-country haul, I'm leaving slsk up so I can finish grabbing disc 1 of Bear Family Records' 1999 5-CD Ann-Margret box set. And you can listen in as I do so. On this 1961 track, A-M claims she ain't got nobody; however, she doesn't seem especially troubled by the fact.

Ann-Margret - "I Ain't Got Nobody (Nobody Cares For Me)"

May 10, 2005

Tonight, after years of meaning to do this, I re-acquired The Best of Paolo Conte and now all's well with the world again. (I should have known that once I loaned it out I'd never get it back.)

I was worried that if I heard this stuff again I'd find it too "whimsical" and "wonderful" and ya know my least favorite thing about middlebrow European culture is the Amelie force-lumps-of-sugar-down-your-throat approach to life. But no, Conte really is a classy affair. What I really dig about him most of all is his piano playing -- there's that same sorta home-schooled vaudeville plink-plunk sloppiness Randy Newman has on "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear." And when you add in the Gainsbourg/Waits/Walter Matthau gruff, bemused voice and the '80s Leonard Cohen production values... only good can come.

I wouldn't normally post mp3s of something so widely available, but hell, it's been seven years since this record made Conte a cult star over here, and I'm sure there are plenty of people who either didn't catch the boat the first time or forgot all about him. If you'd rather go about it the legal way, there are clips on the Amazon page I linked to above.

Paolo Conte - "Gelato al Limon"
Paolo Conte - "Alle Prese Con Una Verde Milonga"
Paolo Conte - "Hemingway" (warning: do not download unless you like the sax solos on "Baker Street")

May 09, 2005

Holy shit: chocolate wrappers from KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGISSTAN, and UZBEKISTAN (and some non-stan countries too).

May 08, 2005

And now for something... else. There's a comp called Polska Nowa Fala 1983 making the Bittorrent rounds. If you can put two and two together (or you understand Polish) you've probably already figured out that "Nowa Fala" is "New Wave" (the German equivalent was "Neue Deutsche Welle," and that's pretty close in pronunciation). Anyway, this seems to have been a genuine artifact of 1983, but other than a label (Mathaus Records) and some artwork I haven't come across much about it yet.

I'm just getting around to listening to it, and all I've heard so far are the Madame tracks, which aren't very "new wave" (I can't remember what they would have called it in '83, although it falls under the catch-all rubric "post-punk" now -- vaguely gothy Manchester/Liverpool sorta dancey dubby stuff with shimmery guitars and adenoidal vocals). I've uploaded them here cuz I fully expect some of you will hear this and go mental.

Madame - "Gdyby Nie Szerszenie"
Madame - "Moze Wlasnie Sybilla"
Madame - "Glupi Numer"
Madame - "Dzien Narodzin"
Madame - "Krawat Powieszony W Lazny"

May 06, 2005

All this creepy Christianity has imbued in me a newfound generosity, so I've uploaded the entire For Christians, Elves & Lovers album. A little more hunting around revealed that Gojira69's Ephemeral Treasures has the full text of the album's liner notes ("After reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, our pianist, Larry Hill, was sure Tolkien was a Christian. He made his search and found that Tolkien born of a Christian mother, who was a missionary in Africa at the time of his birth...") and high-quality scans of the front and back cover art.

Unsurprisingly, Christians, Elves has a notable Zeppelin influence -- 12-string balladry and mystical modal mucus (to borrow a favorite phrase), as well as all the leftover Jeff. Airplane/Buff. Springfield references (respectively: corny urban-revolutionary satire-blooze/minor-key plaints of Great Political Import sung by people who sound like they're too tired/baked to do anything about it) you'd expect from burnout hippies. Also, one song sounds like Blue Oyster Cult, one is a solo piano piece by Larry ("Larry's Song"!!), and one has an ethereal white chick butchering the 23rd Psalm. So it's more or less the Hair soundtrack, but without the token blacks.

I'm on slsk and I've just, out of curiosity, queued up an album called For Christians, Elves & Lovers by the All Saved Freak Band. This discovery baffled and excited me and frankly scared me enough to send me to Google before pulling the trigger.

One-Way Music has a page called A Decade of Jesus Music 1969-79. The site design is so horrible (frames? in 2005?) that I couldn't send you there in good conscience, but if you chance upon it in your travels, check out the small selection of All Saved Freak Band .ram song samples (to those allergic to RealPlayer, I recommend Real Alternative).

That said, here are some snippets from their ASFB bio:

A Historical Look at the All Saved Freak Band - Compiled by Ivan Lewis

The late 1960s thru the 70s were strange and exciting times to be living. At a time when the world was experiencing advances in medicine and technology, abuses in the form of street drugs and pornography became ways of life. Rock and roll became the dominant music form. Rock festivals, drug overdoses, race riots, and man walking on the moon became simultaneous headlines. And while the secular world was reeling, so did the Church. The Charismatic movement spread throughout the country and the world. Hippies became enthusiastic Christians. Much of rock and roll took on Christian lyrics. Names like David Wilkerson, Oral Roberts, and Kathryn Kuhlman made headlines from sellout crusades.

Groups of 'ex-hippies' rose up to proclaim their faith in the ways that were contemporary to that time. Teens wrote songs and performed them at churches and coffee houses to tell of their newfound faith and life in Jesus; The new genre was dubbed 'Jesus music'. These new musical artists began to produce albums for the marketplace, finding a format to be heard through Christian radio stations that emerged throughout the land ... but with the newfound expressions found in the Charismatic movement came much controversy. A renewed emphasis surfaced concerning the second coming of Christ. Caution became warning which became imminent predictions resulting in doomsday prophecies and panic. But along with these teachers came others like Cliff Custer who mixed eastern philosophies with the orthodox, delving into areas like reincarnation and transcendental meditation.

It was among these times that a group called the All Saved Freak Band came on the scene. The group epitomized everything that can start out right with good intentions, and become the focus of what can go wrong. It is my belief that no-one including Larry Hill set out to purposely control and destroy lives from the beginning. But it is a great example of what can happen when a man comes to believe that he is more than just a sinner saved by grace. Pride comes before the fall.

*** cut to: a young, idealistic Larry becoming involved with local ministries and eventually starting his own church. Larry has a series of apocalyptic visions and in spreading these prophecies, his church gradually becomes more cult-like. The church has a band (Preacher and the Witness, subsequently renamed the All Saved Freak Band); some of the musicians are legitimate dudes who played with the James Gang and had high-profile classical backgrounds and whatnot. The ASFB goes on to some success and releases some records; Larry continues to go bonkers. Right then... ***

Following tours in the mid to late 70s the band went into a state of withdrawal. Larry's authoritarianism took giant leaps to the point to where he taught that he was God's only voice of truth. Larry designated an "inner circle" to the group. This was comprised of women, both married and single, who were designated as leaders and prophetesses. All became sexual servants of Larry. The men were delegated to sleeping in the barn and he slept in the house with the women. The women were instructed to have "downcast eyes", that is looking downward while walking at all times. The men were told to not even look at a woman. Penalties were harsh. Mental and physical abuse became rampant. The men were humiliated and whipped if they questioned Hill's authority or failed to meet up to Hill's demands. The men were worked 18 to 20 hours a day and expected to survive on minimal food and sleep. Child abuse became known throughout the vacinity with welfare and social workers being called to investigate. If the men told the truth to the workers they were beaten by Hill. Amid charges by the Ashtabula County District Attorney Larry fled the state leaving his assistant pastor Dianne Sullivan to face the charges alone. She took the entire sentence on herself leaving Larry free from prosecution.

*** Hidden Vision's Pictorial History of the All Saved Freak Band has more info on what eventually happened to the band members: ***

During the eleven year history of the group the band paid a tremendous price to carry the good news. Three members of the band lost their lives in service to the Kingdom. Tom Miller, one of the Kent 25, and Randy Markko died on the way to witness at a rock festival in Bull Island, Illinois. Tom designed many of the graphics used in the Freedom Bell newspapers the band created and distributed by the 10's of thousands. He was also shown in a photograph in Life Magazine jumping in a pool of blood during the Kent State shootings.

Brett Hill, Larry's son and percussionist, was killed on the way home from a New Year's Eve concert/service in Kent. The car door opened and he fell out of the vehicle, rolling under the wheels.

Glenn Schwartz was kidnapped by a "cult deprogrammer." Eventually, Glenn was committed to a mental institution by a family embarrassed and confused by his new experience. During that period of time the band carried on with a substitute guitarist by the name of Phil Keaggy. He filled in for Glenn at Sunday afternoon services held in JB's Bar on Water Street in Kent. ASFB played there every Sunday afternoon. Drawing crowds from the street, the group used those services to launch a local church called the Kent New Generation Church. This fellowship became a " daughter church" of the Church of the Risen Christ and many of the people who lived at the CRC [Church of the Risen Christ] Farm came from this group.

Following his brother Randy's death Joe Markko was electrocuted with 27,000 volts of electricity. While he lost his hands and thus the ability to play musical instruments he continued to serve as writer, singer and arranger of much of the band's material. After leaving the band late in 1979 his oldest child was shot to death by a careless hunter and died in his arms.

May 04, 2005

Wednesday vinyl score! (Well, sorta... it's a pretty low score.) I found these in a box, perched atop a garbage can. But to whoever tossed them, thanks!

Nick Lowe - Nick the Nife
Warren Zevon - Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School
Bob Seger - Beautiful Loser
the Daryl Hall/John Oates LP with the very gay-looking silver cover
John McLaughlin - Devotion
It's a Beautiful Day - s/t (which I've heard but never owned)

Opinions on the above are welcomed.

May 03, 2005

Dude! Devo headlines Bumbershoot! I may even be able to make this.

Happy 86th birthday, Pete Seeger! (Effect Measure, via grapeJuiceplus)

(Grocery) STORE WARS