Meep Meep!

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, May 13, 2013 - 06:08:19 pm
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life)
Last week as we were heading out to Laurie Notaro's latest book signing, something jumped down from the outside skylight at me as I opened the gate. It scared the shit out of me, and I jumped back through the gate like a little girl. It seemed like it was a pigeon, but after the initial shock passed and I turned back into a 35 year old man, I walked back through the gate and realized it wasn't a sickly pigeon falling from our roof, but a road runner. We'd actually seen him wandering around the neighborhood this morning on the way to work. Too cool.

We spotted the guy again this morning, and sure enough, he was in our front garden tonight when we got home. I've only seen a few road runners since living here. Having this guy hanging around our house is really cool (particularly when he's NOT jumping down from the skylight at me!)

Now Playing: Jimmy Eat World - Damage

Jimmy Eat World @ Wickenberg Community Center

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, May 10, 2013 - 10:26:55 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows, Instagram Instagram)
Jimmy Eat World? The Wickenburg Community Center? Kind of hard to believe.

This year has started out pretty great for seeing big names at small intimate venues. First Green Day @ The Marquee, and now this. I was happy to recent hear news of their forthcoming album, and then that of their regional "Home State Tour". Looking at the dates a month ago, the Wickenburg one stood out to us. The thought process was that it might draw less Phoenicians than the Casa Grande show, while still a reasonable distance to travel. And having been in Wickenburg last September, and specifically to its community center, we knew how intimate this show would be. Essentially Jimmy Eat World in a decent sized high school gym. It was a no brainer.

To some extent, we weren't 100% sure what to expect when we rolled into town. Everything was very low key, with hardly anything in the name of security, save for the guy scanning tickets and the other guy affixing Crescent Ballroom wrist bands to wrists. Not your typical sort of show. Walking in, it was still kind of hard to believe Jimmy Eat World was going to be on stage there within the hour.

The set was kicked off with I Will Steal You Back, the new single that has been out for a couple of weeks now. I thought that was a great move. Maybe because I already love that song so much. What followed was an equally great set list. Not surprising either, as it's Jimmy Eat World. They'd be hard pressed to put together a bad set list if they tried.

Initially the sound was a little off, but within no time the sound crew had that sorted out. Scattered throughout the set were five songs of the forthcoming record - Steal, Damage both of which I already know, and three others. I've certainly been anticipating the new disc, and the new tracks furthered that anticipation. All were great, and in particular Appreciation.

This being the first time I've seen Jimmy Eat World live (long story), I was interested to see how they performed live. With the layering and ambiance, and just how great they sound on record, I wanted to see how well they replicated that live. Within a few songs, it was obvious that the answer to that is "perfectly". The other thing that really stood out was Adkins vocals. How great he sounds on record isn't studio tricks - he simply that good of a singer. To that end, I actually thought he sounded better live on some of the older songs, 20 years later. That right there was pretty impressive. Many people 20 years later don't sound as good, let alone better. Additionally, he was great to watch perform, rocking out and completely selling ever word he sang.

Other highlights:
  • Work - one of my absolute favorites, and I was hoping to hear both that and Kill. Definitely happy to get one of them. I screamed the lyrics like a fucking lunatic. It was great.
  • Heart Is Hard To Find. Great song, but not one I would have picked to see over a lot of others. Turned out to be a highlight in a live setting. Being in a room full of people clapping that out might have been part of it.
  • Bleed American, The Middle and Sweetness. The whole place went nuts for those. I certainly have listened to Futures, Chase This Light and Invented much more in the last few years, and didn't even think of hearing these songs live. But it was simply hard not to get caught up in the energy both on the stage and in the audience during those. And, well, being reminded how much those songs rock.
The most surprising moment to be a highlight was for me was Goodbye Sky Harbor. This has always been a song I've wanted to really like, given my relationship with Sky Harbor. But pre Bleed American Jimmy Eat World is a bit hit and miss for me, and this song is just a but too dissident and weird for me. But live, it was impossible not to enjoy the intense energy the band put into that one. Turned out to be a highlight and a really cool thing to see live.

Of course, in all honesty, picking highlights from the show is actually as difficult as picking favorite Jimmy Eat World songs. The whole hour and a half was great. The only thing I would have changed if I could would have been Coffee & Cigarettes being on the set list.

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Oh, and their Arizona flag backdrop was awesome. I always enjoy when bands use the state flag for their backdrop (The Maine being the other band that's great like that), but theirs was particularly cool. Given the opportunity to steal it, I probably would have. [wink]

At the end of Sweetness, the band lingered on stage, and Jim very genuinely expressed his appreciation to everyone making it out. That was a cool thing.

All in all a fantastic show, and definitely worth making the trek for it.
Now Playing: Jimmy Eat World - Big Casino

The Highway Rolls

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, May 10, 2013 - 06:09:25 pm
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life, Travel, Instagram Instagram)
Enroute to Wickenburg. To avoid rush our traffic, we've opted for taking the 74 rather than the 17 the whole way. Much more scenic. And it's presented an opportunity for a detour to to try and catch a glimpse of Lake Pleasant. Not a lot to see without paying, but the desert itself makes up for it.

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Onwards to the show. The highway rolls and I can't stop rocking. Can't stop rocking.

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Front Yard Transformation

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, May 5, 2013 - 12:56:03 pm
(Posted Under: Landscaping, This Desert Life This Desert Life)
About a month an a half later, the front garden is done. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it. Well, just sweat really. But lots and lots of it. [wink]

This is what the front looked like when we brought the place (kudos to MLS for the grainy photo).

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Hate is a strong word. But the right one to be used in how we felt about the front when we brought the house. The photo actually makes it look somewhat better than it was. And the impracticality of it was even worse than the aesthetics. Trying to walk on those river rock (the few times we had to) was a St. Lukes emergence room trip just waiting to happen. And those poor excuses for palo verde trees were a huge problem so close to the side walk, especially with their sharp branches.

And y'know, I didn't move half way around the world to have a shitty cactii-less front yard. When in Rome, and all that. Apparently this landscape has been this way for 20+ years, and it wasn't going to stay that way with us living here. But that was going to be a longer term home improvement project.

But thanks to our sewer line dramas at the start of this year (thank you to the juniper tree pictured above) it become a much shorter term home improvement project. Although it didn't seem possible [wink], the front looked even worse after that expensive nightmare. It looked a lot like this actually...

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So, hands were forced. Turning the front into proper desert landscape was going to happen years earlier than it otherwise would have. Come March, it was time to get it happening, before the god awful Arizona summer hit. Lest our neighbors have to look at this mess until November.

By far, the worst part of the job was moving that god forsaken river rock. Much of which was buried after the sewer line work, so not only did it have to be moved, but also dug up. Dealing with the river rock was certainly the most time consuming part of the whole thing, with the first 2 weeks of work being pretty much dedicated to that. This is how things progressed (in pictures) over the next month.

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We were pretty chuffed with things last weekend, as shown in the second last photo. All was left was to do was the top cover. It was pretty easy to decide on the cobblestone rock (as visible on the right side) over the canyon red. We had that delivered on Friday and got that in on Friday night. The result looks more like it snowed in the desert. Or that there was a Keith Richards cocaine party gone horribly wrong in our front yard.

The color variation between the bag we sampled with, and what was delivered in bulk is fairly great. I'd be lying if I were to say we're not disappointed by that. With the blazing Arizona sun, you really need to be wearing shades if you walk past our house. Not what we were going for at all. Maybe we can dye the stuff or something in the future. I don't know.

But I do know this - you can stick a fork in me Jerry, because for now, I'm done! Minus the rock color snaffu, it's we love it.
Now Playing: Foo Fighters - Best Of You

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