Monday, July 16, 2012

Raisin Arizona

Recently, I embarked on a road trip to the great state of Arizona. Armed with my SPF 30 moisturizer and documents proving I am a US citizen, we headed west. Ross’ family lives in Tucson, so we usually try to visit once a year. The sad truth is that it’s not that much hotter in AZ than it is in TX. It rained a few days when we got it which was absolutely lovely. Desert rain is truly enchanting. Of course we stopped at The Thing to pick up my all time favorite pistachio nuts. To my surprise, I got a call from Visa Fraud Protection asking if I was really buying $40 worth of nuts in New Mexico. I appreciate them looking out for me, but I do not appreciate being judged.
This also marked Spike’s first major road trip. Until recently, he had only traveled to South Texas and back. Spike was such a well behaved pooch. Poor Spike, he was incredibly confused by the desert terrain. He couldn’t find a patch of grass to poop on and had no idea what was going on with the gravel. He was also terrified of the doggie door at his grandparent’s house. He had a great time playing with his cousins.
We visited a couple comic book shops (none of which compare to Austin Books), antique malls, and of course Eegee’s where I indulged in the legendary teagee & ranch fries. At one particular antique mall, there was an entire booth devoted to religious artifacts. I’m pretty fascinated by religious memorabilia to begin with so imagine my delight when I set eyes of this giant bust of Pope John Paul II. We had a lovely Fourth of July with our dear friends Kevin & Daniara. They always have unbelievably delicious vegan treats. Maybe I can finally convince them to move to Austin so we can brunch it up and hunt for corgis on a regular basis.
I also visited The Loft Cinema which is Tucson’s answer to The Alamo Drafthouse. There are doing this summer series of “movie bad girls” with a bunch of classic films starring Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Ann-Margaret. We got to see STRAIT-JACKET which was really fun. I felt a bit of sadness because The Loft reminded me of how the Alamo used to be in the old days on 4th & Colorado St. Before everyone was talking about the Magnited States, it was our own little secret here in Austin. Back when we had the QT Fest, Fulci Fest, and Spike & Mike. A time before a bucket of Lone Star cost $21.50 and a couple potato skins cost $9. I’ve always loved and supported the Alamo, but lately I feel like our relationship has become severely strained. In recent months, they raised ticket prices and food/beverage prices. At The Loft, you can still get a bag of popcorn for $3 and if you’re a member, it’s always free. I read a lot more about the membership benefits to The Loft. The lowest tier is $50 a year and you get special pricing, occasional free tickets, and ALWAYS free popcorn! I often spend $50 on two trips to the Alamo. How come The Alamo never did anything like this? Because they’re too busy being greedy capitalists with their bourgeois priority seating. Guess what Alamo? There’s no priority seating at The Loft! Everyone is an equal, there’s no silly class distinction! Not to sound like a total ingrate, the Alamo is truly an amazing place. And now with their well known reputation, it has afforded them the ability to draw in bigger events and special guests which I appreciate. I just sometimes wish it was back to being my little theater that catered to true film fans. I really feel like they’re too focused on appealing to fans on a wider scale, like people who see MAGIC MIKE or ONE FOR THE MONEY. The old Alamo would have never screened something like THAT’S MY BOY, but they did at the Ritz. I’m just glad that places like The Loft exist around the country. The world needs a little variety.
We also spent a day in Phoenix. We had some truly amazing Mexican food at a place called La Condesa. They had a delectable salsa bar that had about fourteen different salsas ranging from pecan salsa to strawberry salsa. Every one that I tried was tasty. We also got to visit Lulubell Toy Bodega in Tempe. They have a lot of Japanese Kaiju toys. This place is a mecca for serious vinyl toy collectors. I was only hoping to see their infamous pug Winston, but apparently he was off work that day. The highlight of my trip was visiting Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Farm. It's right off the highway between Tucson and Phoenix. They had donkeys, deer, goats, ostrich, ducks, and lorikeets that you can all feed. Ross got bit by a donkey and one of the ostrich (barps) almost took off my pinkie finger. All the animals are super cute and fun, but be careful not to get bit. I told Ross to help me get this lorikeet off my head before he pooped on me and he just said, "wait let me take a picture first." Thanks a lot Turkey.
I always make a point to stop by Bookmans in Tucson. They have several stores around AZ and are the equivalent of Half Priced Books in TX. I think Bookmans is a bit more reasonably priced and they have a wider selection of other media. I picked up three books for $8 a piece which probably would have cost $12-14 each at Half Priced. Their selection also hasn’t been picked over by Hyde Park hipsters looking to decorate their brand new IKEA shelving. The best pick of the week for me was this one of a kind Justin Timberlake action figure (doll) from the “Bye Bye Bye” era.
We really had a lovely time in AZ as always. It really is nice to get away sometimes, but it’s even nicer to be home.


  1. I totally agree with you about Alamo. My favorite memory from Alamo downtown was the Evil Dead event they had when Bruce came out with his first book. I still have my ticket stubs from that. I also miss the midnight screenings they had there. I saw some really awesome flicks there. Oh and the marathons they had. I could go on...

    Glad you had a good time in AZ. The clan will have to trek there someday, as I have never been.

  2. Are you guys in the "Boring Apartment Dwellers" section of the Judgmental Map??? I guess it's better than living in "POVERTY" like we do! Haha! Super jealous you guys got to go to good ole Tucson.

  3. Damnit. I should have asked you to get me a souvenir!

    I love the pictures of Spike. That pup knows how to pose for the camera.

  4. "I got a call from Visa Fraud Protection asking if I was really buying $40 worth of nuts in New Mexico" just made my day.