Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Long Wong's

Every now and then I wander the web, the blogosphere, and any other avenue of information that the Internet has to offer and I try to find little references to Mill Avenue in other people's eyes. Today, I stumbled across this particular snippet.
Now that Wong's was moments away from being leveled, the history of that street no longer had a physical reminder left, and the only references back to those days were the ones we were lucky enough to remember. It was a bar, after all.

With another bang, the backhoe swung at Long Wong's again, resulting in a tumbling rain of old bricks, and the last of the building stood defenseless. No one else took notice, no one else stopped to watch, but I felt fortunate that sitting in an air-conditioned rental car with my eyes swelling and hot, I was there to see a place I loved so much take its last stand.

Powell's Books - PowellsBooks.Blog

Those who read Volume 2 of Mill Avenue Vexations probably saw my ending all about how there is a certain cadre who still recall the old things about Mill, Long Wong's, Cafe Boa, Java Road, all of those fading edifices that have been crumbling under the great monster of development -- but not really developing anything.

Long Wong's destruction lead to a big gravel lot that cars are parking on. I cannot say that was much progress. Sure, P.F. Cheng's China Bistro erupted from the muddy hole scraped out of the Ave that used to be a big, rolling green hill that students and passersby alike used to sit on and read. Most of that building is still disused and uninteresting.

Even through all of these terrible vicissitudes of the Merchant's Guild and the myopic vision of the Tempe Government, the culture of Mill still prevails. It prevails through people like Walt Richardson and the open mic at Rula Bula, through Graffiti Shop and Lawrence, and even through some of the people who still take to the street to recall.

As people may know, I study and record histories, as a writer, and one of the more interesting ones is of the Hayden Family. Their old homestead is now a restaurant, which I'm told serves some awesome steaks, Monti's at La Casa Vieja. Check them out sometime.

And while everyone is at it, go to the Tempe Museum. Know the place.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Article in the Telegraph About Goths

The Daily Telegraph has posted an article after my own heart this March 20th, in an article about gothic subculture:

The research found that "bourgeois" goths are a class above other youth cultures and get their kicks from books rather than drugs.

The Sussex University study says goths, recognised by their black clothes and hair, pasty faces and morbid taste in music, are middle class to the core.

Dunja Brill, 32, who has a doctorate in media and cultural studies, studied goths in Brighton, Edinburgh, Berlin and Cologne.

"They won't like me saying it, but their lifestyle, unlike the punk scene, is a middle-class subculture," she said.

Her research shows that goths share a dark sense of humour.

"The values of the goth subculture are very high-brow," she said. "They tend to enjoy old poetry, books and the arts.

I have been a member proper of the goth subculture for some time now, although my black garb is due to the adherence to a cultural tradition, they are a diverse and often tumultuous group that circumscribes an appreciation for the darker things in life. The mention of sarcasm and dark humor are not far off the mark, nor do I think the mentions that it is an obdurately middle-class subculture. It seems to me, whilst it has its roots in the punk subculture, that most of the members are the theater and humanities versions of their punk counterparts. Goth subculture borrows a lot from its literary roots in that the examination of the world as both bleak and romantic can go hand-in-hand along that bloody, tearstained journey. It is difficult to get by with simple rebellion when thy clothing, attitude, and means to expression are so intricate and often well mulled over.

In an interview on the subject of goth subculture, goth idol Voltaire explained that the subculture transcends its own dark roots through a scrim of melancholy and frayed edges to become something new; something beyond simple explanation, retaliation against authority, teenage rebellion, the music, the literature, the pale faces in the dark--all of these things meeting a new and especially sage synthesis within the group itself. All cultures and subcultures keep wisdom in their revelry; their music; their words; their outward expression; even goth subculture. And while it may seem opaque to the point of abjured mystery, the truth of the matter remains that goth subculture is not an impenetrable darkness that teens fall into, never to escape. Instead it is an experience, different from the mainstream, a waiting community, a common environment and a group more welcoming and accepting than most.

While the name goth may bring to mind dripping mascara to some, it has roots and origins from the word for "barbarians," and in truth the gothic subculture accepts the barbaric nature of mankind. That sadness, that melancholy disconsolate feeling that is brought about by the terrible doings in the world, written down onto pages, scratched out in throaty and ethereal music, it's all here.

Slowly, but slowly, the mainstream media warehouses (terrible as they are) have become more elucidated, and with that perhaps they can educated out the ignorance that they sewed too often before.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Music: A Cat-Shaped Hole in my Heart

Anyone who has been close to a cat--or any other pet--knows the feelings of grief and loss. has put together a compilation CD with a multitude of Darkwave, Gothic artists all submitting songs about their cats. The royalties and proceeds are donated to a local no-kill shelter in Chicago. This CD is in memory of his cat, Vidna, who died of feline leukemia (FeLV).

You can find the CDs for sale on and even a series of reviews that should give you an idea of what's on the CD and how other people felt about it.

Thou can also visit their web page, and chances are they'll receive more money if thou go this route anyway. See Cat-Shaped Hole In My Heart at Projekt.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Dana Goodness

Few people know, but today I received a Dana from AlphaSmart, the device is essentially a palm device, because it runs on PalmOS, but it has a built in full-size keyboard. This has always been one of the major hurdles between me and something smaller than a lappy—and actually a hurdle between me and lappies (I actually require a keyboard separate from my laptop because the keyboard is slightly too small for my delicate elven fingers.)

I have decided to include an excerpt from the AlphaSmart web page about the Dana Wireless (the version I received.)

It's the affordable one-to-one computing solution—and now available with wireless connectivity. Dana Wireless offers the convenience and affordability of a hand-held device, and includes built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b) capability, providing wireless connectivity for the classroom, campus, office, or home.

Dana Wireless continues AlphaSmart's tradition of ultralight portability and simplicity. With Wi-Fi technology, getting connected has never been easier.

Dana Wireless

So far it has met my expectations for such a device. It has a touch screen and a full-size keyboard that adequately matches my bird-like hand-span. The user interface is intuitive enough that I quickly learned to use the word processor (my primary concern as a writer) and even determined some of the more esoteric functions without having to dip into the manual.

It is a fun toy too.

I will probably get a carrying case for the device and trot it out to Mill Avenue with me sometime soon. I intend to use it for note taking and, if I can get an IRC program or an AIM client installed, I can use it to keep in touch with people when I'm near hotspots.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tempe City Goverment Actually Getting Things Right?

Pride? What is this...perhaps it's a swelling in my chest at some words that I just read in an article? Could it be?

Council candidates debate housing in the State Press wrote:

All the candidates also said future high-rise development in Tempe should be restricted.

Arredondo said he opposed the 30-story height for the tallest buildings of Centerpoint Condominiums, now under construction at Mill Avenue and Sixth Street.

He added he would never allow Hayden Butte, or "A Mountain," to be surrounded by high-rise buildings.

"I really can't imagine what downtown Tempe is going to look like with a 30-story building," Ellis said. "That just seems so high to me."

Well. I am certainly happy to see that sentiment. The strange landscape of Tempe (and Arizona) is one that suffices less growing up and more making due with what we have. In fact, it seems to me, that as a desert we should be growing down, but that may just be me. I have to agree that I do not want buildings towering over A Mountain (yes, I understand it's really named Hayden Butte [actually Tempe Butte, but I hate the name Tempe vs. Hayden], but this is one of those cases where the historic name doesn't matter as much as its community name--I think Tempe already knows something about this.)

With these Centerpointe Condominiums being constructed at 6th and Mill, it makes things a little bit more irksome for me. The Orchidhouse Condominiums near 5th and Mill are already a blight for the culture of Mill Ave, because the tenants like to complain about ordinary goings-on that have been happening for over a decade on Mill. I am fundamentally annoyed at these extremely stupid people, whose behavior rankles me to the core. What the hell were they expecting? A quiet suburb out of the way of an economic center? No, wait, they chose to live right off of a major downtown road, a center for culture and commerce.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Record Phoenician Dry Spell

What many of my readers may not know is that right now Phoenix, and as a result Mill Avenue, are under a particularly annoying blight: our robin egg blue skies have yet to crack themselves open and let loose with some good old fashioned rain.

Phoenix has been a no-rain zone for almost 133 days and running, and one of our few chances to break it anytime soon is passing us by right now.

Yesterday, The Arizona Republic ran an article with this headline: Storm might end record dry spell today; but, in spite of all hopes to the contrary, the clouds brought us little more than a few stuttered coughs and an umbrella of grey.
A strong Pacific storm hit the West Coast on Monday, dropping 1 to 2 inches in parts of California.

As it moves east, Phoenix will have a 40 percent chance of rain today and tonight.

Bill Estle of the National Weather Service in Phoenix said this is the best chance of rain since Phoenix set the dry-spell record on Jan. 27.

Much to our dismay, it seems that we will have to continue to labor under further dryness until this desiccating waltz plays itself out.

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