Desert Landscaping

Getting The Prickly Pear In

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 10:38:11 am
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life, Desert Landscaping, Instagram Instagram)
5am on a Saturday - I don't see that often. The fact that I did this morning really goes to how inspired we are to get our desert oasis out the front done. Not going out to see a band last night certainly helped that.

I was somewhat over eager with setting my alarm for 5am. It seemed kind of dark, and a quick Google before I got out of bed informed me that the sun wasn't going to be up until 6:34am. That was kind of surprising to me. As a result, when all was said and done, I didn't get out there until around 6am. The going to bed early and getting up early was definitely worth it - the 59 degree temperature was beautiful for moving rocks and digging holes. Not a drop of sweat, which was such a change from the nights last week. Of course, that only lasted for an half an our or so. The difference once the sun was above the horizon and houses to the east was certainly noticeable. And continued to become moreso as the sun rose higher in the sky. Insert Bad, Crazy Sun lyrics here. It's not even remotely close to summer, but by about 8:30 I was ready for someone to shoot it right out of the sky.

In anycase, I got started on digging a hole for the prickly pear, and Katie took off to help a friend move to a new apartment. In the progress I came across another Cox cable that I had to work around. Katie got back a lot earlier than we imagined, and we set to work on getting the prickly pear in.

Planting a 5 foot prickly pear is just about as fun as you would imagine it would be. It was touch and go for a while there, trying to get the bucket off it, and it into the hole. The level of satisfaction when we did get it in was pretty high. And once it was in, the task that immediately followed was pulling all the spines from our bodies. The protection that gloves give against them is dubious. And it was just easier to change my t-shirt than deal with all the spines poking me through it. And this is a relatively spineless variety of prickly pear, in that it doesn't have the large spines. Just plenty of almost invisible ones to suitably drive your crazy!

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When all was said and done, it was about 2pm when we got finished positioning and filling the whole back in. Looks pretty damn good. And our vision for out the front is starting to take shape. Still a lot to do, but it's finally starting to get there.


(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 11:28:43 am
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
I recently got my hands on some Beat Angels demos. Well, a whole bunch actually, some of which I've had for years. And a whole bunch I haven't. One of the many gems on there is their original version of Sideshow. Y'know, the song that Alice Cooper recorded and released in the early to mid 90's.

Listening to it today made me revisit the Cooper version, which I've heard a few times before. It's a great song. Hell, it's written by Smith, Brooks and Norwood. But the Coop's version, by comparison, oh so noticeably lacks the true rock 'n roll edge. Y'know what I mean - that whitewashing by the late 80's / early 90's overproduced, clean and commercialized sound that the labels gave the big hard rock acts of that era.

I'm not knocking Coops. Alice Cooper is a legend. I remember when I was 10 or 11, when Bed Of Nails and Poison came out, and lying in front of my stereo, equal distance between both speakers, loving how the guitars cut like a knife. It definitely seem raw and dangerous to my ten year old self. I brought Trash on CD about 10 years later. Did the production seem dated, even then? I'd be lying if I said no. You grow up, and the slick, "made to be a commercial radio hit" tricks are more obvious. Sideshow suffers a similar fate, almost 20 years later.

Until you hear the original Beat Angels demo version. Probably recorded on a miniscule budget compared to Cooper's version and coming from cassette tape, warts and all. And it sounds absolutely rock n' roll, trash and absolutely credibly; pretty much 20 years after it was recorded.

The intro stood out to me immediately. That's got to be Westerberg influence right there. Particularly on this demo version, the guitar riff is as if was born out of Talent Show and All Shook Down spending a sordid night together. God, I love it.

These demos are great, and have some pretty cool history associated with them. It often kills me that the Beat Angels didn't take the world by storm and that so many amazing songs didn't see the light of day, nor mass appeal. But I guess if they had, they'd probably have received the slick big budget treatment, and I wouldn't be sitting here today freaking out over how great these songs are, nor how they gel my trashy glam rock youth, with what I listen to these days perfectly. So maybe it's all for the best. Fuck, it's not like I don't know that most of the best songs were recorded on a shoe string budgets, heard by few, and cared about by less, anyway.

All hail the 3 minute pop song.
Now Playing: Beat Angels - Sideshow (Norwood Demos)

Revolver Records Tempe

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 12:04:13 pm
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life)
Headed down to Revolver Records new Tempe store this morning. Barely 5 minutes from the house. That's a pretty dangerous location for us. [smile]

Can you say "clusterfuck"? Not too surprising, the place was pretty packed 20 or so minutes after opening. Record stores are dying, and have been for many, many years, so despite liking my personal space, it's was pretty cool to see the place so packed. Though we could only take the lack of personal space long enough to check the usual suspects. Interestingly they had not one, but two copies of Open Up And Say...Ahhh!, which I've been looking for for years and recently picked up at Zia. As well as a copy of Heyday for the same price, but better condition than the one we brought at Eastside. Despite the clusterfuck, we picked up some Church and Red Rockers vinyl, before heading to the counter and getting the hell out of there. We'll be back to be more thorough when there are a few less bodies to contend with though.

You can count on it.

Green Day @ The Marquee

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, March 11, 2013 - 11:08:33 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Live Shows)
Now, that - that was something!

We had tickets to see one of the very few "club shows" in December last year. As a matter of fact, that's entirely why we signed up for Idiot Club last year - to have access to the pre-sale for the Tempe show. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't kind of soured when that December show was canceled.

Two weeks ago, when a new Marquee date was announced, I was less excited than I had been last year. However, we collectively decided that we should try and get tickets again. After all, it was Green Day at the Marquee, and we'd at least our money's worth from the Idiot Club membership.

Any hard feelings stemming from the original date being canceled fell by the wayside tonight. A little before five o'clock I changed out of my work shirt into a Replacements shirt, and headed down to meet Katie and we caught a bus for the short trip to the Marquee. It was just after five, with three hours to go before show time, and the mandatory will call line snaked around the venue down Mill Ave. and back into the Marquee parking lot. After about an hour of standing in line, security came around announcing that Idiot Club ticket purchases could go in. We ditched the line, and walked straight into the Marquee. As a result, we found the venue to be relatively empty and picked out a nice spot - essentially front row, off to the right, with a wall to prop up against, and a fan close by (if you've never seen a show at the Marquee, you probably don't realize the value of that last part).

If there were any hard feelings left from the December debacle (at this point I don't think there was), they were completely gone seconds into Armstrong, Dirnt and Cool taking the stage. Holy shit - in a post American Idiot world, being front row for Green Day, literally feet from the band, was certainly a once in a lifetime experience. Completely blew seeing them in an arena (as cool as that was) away.

Once I was able to somewhat get over the ridiculousness of the situation, which admittedly actually took at least a couple of songs, some things became apparently. The fact that Billie Joe is pretty much a 5 year old in a 41 years old's body. And reminded me how music, especially live music, is supposed to be fun and stupid. Even when you have something to say, rock 'n roll should be fun and stupid. It's one of the many things that makes Green Day such a great band.

The set list, surprisingly light on songs from the trilogy, was fantastic. Under different circumstances, and given three hours, there is probably a bunch of songs particularly off ¡Uno! I would have liked to see. But given the setting, I loved getting to see a bunch of older songs. The highlight of which was bunch of Dookie songs I didn't expect to hear: Burnout, Coming Out and She, in addition to the expected Longview and Basket Case. Y'know, the only change I would have made to the set list would have been the addition of When I Come Around.

No drunk bunny (too soon? Maybe), but still the usual ridiculousness of King For A Day dress up, super soakers, teepee shooting and t-shirt guns. The t-shirt gun certainly reminded you of the intimate setting, with at least one t-shirt no doubt piercing another hole in the Marquee roof insulation, with Billie shooting like he was in a usual huge arena.

Definitely a hell of an experience all around. I can pretty much guarantee that I'll never see Green Day this close ever again. A for $50 a ticket. That's still pretty hard to believe. We were both still kind of reeling on the walk back over the Mill Avenue bridge to the car, and it was hard to fully express in words the whole thing.

Though Katie did manage to suggest that we do the whole thing again tomorrow night in El Paso. If only the world worked that way...


(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 05:02:08 pm
(Posted Under: Travel)
The weather in Phoenix (aside from Sunday) has been glorious. I won't lie, it makes traveling to Portland, Oregen a bit rough. The sun was out somewhat, albiet it close to setting on touching down yesterday afternoon. That, however seems to have been a fluke. It was nowhere to be found today, which will probably be true for the remainder of the stay here, at least according to the weather forecast.

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Now Playing: Jimmy Eat World - Work

Boyce Thompson Arbertorium

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, March 2, 2013 - 11:08:47 pm
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life, Photography, Instagram Instagram)
We jumped in the car this morning and headed out towards east to Globe, with the plan to either checkout the Boyce Thompson Arboretum or Globe.

The former won out, and while we weren't sure about the $9 entry, it turned out to be quite worthwhile. A perfect Arizona day for it, not a cloud in the sky, and also not too hot.

One hell of a photo opportunity presented itself on the main trail.

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Now Playing: Jimmy Eat World - Polaris

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